Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Many Sides of Carlos Gomez

It has been four seasons since Carlos Gomez last wore the uniform of the Minnesota Twins. At that point in his career, he was a hotshot 23-year old outfielder that was heading to his third club in four years. The defensive side of the ball was his calling card and his offensive game still looked to be in the infant stages.

The Twins acquired Gomez as the top prospect in the famous deal that sent Johan Santana to the New York Mets. He would play 290 games in Minnesota while hitting .248/.293/.352 with 10 home runs, 12 triples, and 39 doubles. This all added up to a 0.8 WAR in two seasons.

Minnesota eventually got tired of the attitude of Gomez and his lack of offensive production. This meant he was shipped across the border to Milwaukee in a deal that netted the Twins JJ Hardy. His first two seasons for the Brewers were filled with ups and downs. He hit .238/.288/.377 in 191 games from 2010-2011. At 25-years old, Milwaukee stuck with Gomez and it seems to be paying off.

Flash-forward to the present day and Gomez is putting together his finest season as a professional. His name is being bounced around as a potential MVP candidate and he could be in line to make his first All-Star team.

Oh, how things have changed for Mr. Gomez...

Twins fans got an up close and personal view of Gomez on Monday afternoon as he put on a personal hitting clinic in Milwaukee. In his first two at-bats, he hit solo-home runs. They were his ninth and tenth home runs respectively.

This wasn't just one miracle game from Gomez. He has been putting up solid offensive numbers all season. His .331 batting average ranks him in the top five in the National League. To go along with his 10 home runs, he has three triples and 13 doubles so there has been plenty of power. His slugging percentage is also in the top five in the NL.

There were positive signs from Gomez at the end of last season. He batted .233/.280/.423 in the first half of 2012 but something clicked after the All-Star Break. He would hit .278/.321/.488 with 14 home runs and 11 doubles in the second half of the year. Gomez has never hit more than 8 home runs in one season so to knock out 19 in one year was quite the power surge.

Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin liked what he saw from Gomez down the stretch so the club signed him to a four-year, $28.3 million extension. At the time of the signing, it looked like the Brewers were overpaying for someone with one half of a good season at the big league level. The performance of Gomez so far this year makes it look like Milwaukee made a wise investment.

Did the Twins get rid of Gomez before the club should have?

There were plenty of other center fielders in the Twins organization. Denard Span, Ben Revere, and Aaron Hicks were all in different parts of their development when Gomez was sent packing. Span looked ready to take over the center field job on a regular basis. Revere and Hicks were still in the minors but on their way to the big leagues.

It also doesn't seem likely that the Twins wouldn't have waited for Gomez to try and solve his offensive woes. For Gomez, it took five seasons and close to 2,000 plate appearances to get to this point. With better offensive options in center field, the Twins would have likely passed on Gomez before his offensive explosion.

The future could be interesting for Mr. Gomez. In 2016 at 30-years old, he will be making $9 million. That is almost more than he has made in his entire career up to this point.

Will Gomez be worth that kind of money in four years? Only time will tell...

No comments: