Earlier Wednesday, news came out that Carlos Gomez signed a four year, $28.3 million deal to stay in Milwaukee. Andy and Nils disagree on the merits of the deal. Here ya go:
Earlier today I tweeted that I am not a fan of the Carlos Gomez signing. He will make $28.3 million through the 2016 season.
The reason I think Car-Go is not worthy of this extension is because he’s likely to regress from the .260/.305/.463 line he showed in 2012 (along with 19 home runs). In 2012 he had a 2.0 WARP and BP projects him to have a 1.6 in 2013.
The tools are there. They always have been. But the lack of plate discipline he shows will never result in a high OBP and it doesn’t help with his grip-and-rip approach. Swinging at so many balls out of the zone won’t lead to a lot of good contact which is probable cause for BP to predict that he will hit for a .245 average.
The Brewers have a less-than-stellar rotation after Yovani Gallardo and nobody in the minors that standout as a future top-of-the-rotation arm. They did draft Jed Bradley and Taylor Jungmann in the first round of the draft in 2011 but they are both a couple of years away from MLB production.
This money could have been saved (as I don’t believe they will be contenders in the NL Central this season) for a future free agent (as long as it isn’t another Jeff Suppan or Randy Wolf) or as extra money if they make a deal for a pitcher.
My initial reaction to today's Carlos Gomez extension was that it was a bad deal. Four years for a guy who doesn't hit or walk and is a massive headache for Brewers' fans? Seems excessive; I mean, he's not terrible but there are plenty of center fielders who can't hit that are available for much less.
However, once you look past what he can't do, this deal actually makes a lot of sense. Starting with Gomez' largest asset (there had to be a better way to phrase that...) - he's one of the premier defensive center fielders in the league. He's always had the tools - tremendous range and a huge arm - but regularly took the worst possible routes and sailed the ball over the cutoff man. Well, by his sixth season in the majors, he's a much more refined product than before: finally parlaying those tools into skills. John Dewan, author of The Fielding Bible, ranks Gomez as one of the best five center fielders of the last decade and attributes him roughly ten runs per season. At about $7 million a year, the Brewers will be paying for slightly under two wins per season. Ten runs are generally equated to one win, so half of their investment is taken care of by just one aspect of his game. Granted, as players age their defense diminishes. But being 27-31 for the contract, this shouldn't be a significant problem.
A legitimate issue relates to his bat. He'll never be the .300 hitter we love to see out of speedy guys. But with that said, he's not the .229 hitter that Twins fans saw in 2009. I would peg his future batting averages in the .250-.265 range. His strikeout rate, 21.7% last season, isn't pretty but it's acceptable. Especially for a guy with his speed who should be able make the most out of the balls he puts in play. For example, last year's babip of .296 (that led to a .260 batting average) is completely reasonable to expect going forward. When compared with the league's mean batting average of .255, that actually looks pretty good. Gomez rarely walks, leading to a subpar on base average. But nobody's perfect and he should be counted on as more of a bottom of the order spark more than a top of the order table setter. Gomez also has the power to pop out 50+ extra base hits and wreak havoc on the base paths; a very solid secondary skill set. That being said, he's not a 20 homer guy like we saw in 2012. More likely he'll hit 30 doubles, a dozen triples and a dozen homer runs.
All that was a barely coherent attempt to paint a picture of Gomez diverse, unconventional (the only comparison I can make is Peter Bourjos) skill set. I believe he will be worth the $28 million investment and in the end the Brew Crew will look smart for making it.
Side note: Gomez and Nori Aoki make up one of the most underrated outfield duo in the league. Neither has a skill that pops out to the average baseball fan (average, homers, RBI, etc.) but they can really play. It also doesn't help they're playing alongside Ryan Braun.