By Jeff Louderback
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington has said that he wants to pursue free agent outfielders whose contracts will not hamstring the organization in terms of length while also adding players who will help the team cultivate a favorable clubhouse presence. The club believes it will accomplish both objectives by signing Jonny Gomes.
According to multiple media reports, the Red Sox are nearing a two-year agreement with the 31-year-old Gomes, who hit .262 with 18 home runs, 47 RBI and a .868 OPS in 333 plate appearances in 2012 with the Oakland A’s.
Primarily a left fielder whose defense is average at best, the right-handed Gomes mashes left-handed pitching. A career .284 hitter against southpaws, Gomes recorded a .974 OPS against lefties and belted 11 home runs against them in 2012.
If the signing of Gomes is completed, they could still pursue Cody Ross, who is another right-handed power bat who thrives against left-handed pitching. Boston is more likely to either acquire a right fielder via trade or free agency, or give Ryan Kalish a chance to win the position.
Gomes is likely to serve as a platoon candidate in left field for the Red Sox, which also need a first baseman in addition to a right fielder.