You're completely missing my point, but you're pretty smart so I'm just going to go ahead and assume I'm not making it correctly.
The point isn't whether Jonny Gomes would be available in January. The point is whether a Jonny Gomes equivalent would be available in January. And I don't mean lefty masher (which is more fungible that people credit). I mean a guy who can add 1-2 wins to the back end of the roster. There are a lot of ways to get that if you are smart, and I don't think picking a guy with this specific skill set when there are so many other things to address is really a great way to spend your day.
All of that said, I agree in principle with the idea that he's not going to hurt anything even at $5 million per. I just don't agree with the argument of "if you would not be against this signing in January you can't be against it now."
2 honest questions for people taking this stance:
1. How much time/resources of Ben and the FO at large do you think were consumed by this signing?
2. What specific move would you have preferred to see made by the same date that would be considerably more impacting?
I ask the first because while we all have little to no knowledge of who worked this deal and for how long, I'm of the mind that it likely did not preclude them from something bigger and better, nor does his presence prevent them from making any other moves. I'd be willing to bet the majority of it was handled by Hazen, Baird or O'Halloran, but that's purely pulled out of my ass. If we have reason to believe that Ben eat, drank and slept Jonny Gomes for three weeks or has had a Lugo-esque infatuation with him for years, then sure, your point is valid and I would agree. But I would seriously doubt either is the case and I fail to see how such a small, simple signing would pull away from bigger matters in any drastic sense.
I ask the second because I genuinely want to know what people want this FO to do? I know there is no consensus but other than signings like this what was expected before the winter meetings? Trades don't happen before that generally. Big signing will be delayed even further this year because team have money to burn, agents know it and they're demands are sky high. $100+ for Sanchez? 6 years for Hamilton? $13 per for Hunter? Did people want one of those? Olney and others predicted exactly this type of development - GMs will wait out the big guys and fill smaller holes now rather than in January. Argue that prediction as you will but it appears Ben is of a similar mindset and if with of them are correct, wouldn't you want to be out ahead of it? He couldn't go to the meetings and shop Salty unless he was comfortable with a replacement - give Ross a little extra and lock him up. Can't have one decent OF on the roster and not get bent over a barrel - give Gomes a little extra. Keep them short.
Fwiw, I don't have particularly strong feelings about Gomes either way but I honestly think the ZOMG!??!!!! Ben has learned nothing!! Reactions are a tad overdone (not aimed directly at you btw) and I just feel this FO can do no right. I don't see this signing deserving such intense scrutiny, but that may be because I don't see him viewed as a key cog and I flinch at thoughts of blockbuster trades and long term deals with this FA market (with the exception of Grienke).
Is it an overpay? Probably, at least empirically, but we don't know what the market was and it doesn't make a difference to anyone here nor the payroll to give him an extra million or two. Could a similar player have been discovered or signed in January? Maybe, maybe not, but at least he is a known quantity. Lefty mashers, I agree are not exactly rare but I disagree that they are fungible and if this team somehow finds a way to contend for a WC next year it will be because all the pieces are working. I'd rather not be wasting half the season trying to discover the $1m version of Jonny Gomes, only to then have to spend assets in trade when that guy doesn't pan out.
In short, to spend 3% of the payroll, and likely ten hours of work locking in a role player, I think is probably worth it when it could conceivably cost less money but a lot more time after the new year or at the deadline to find something you hope to be as good.