Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trade Review: Jonny Gomes

The Washington Nationals have acquired Johnny Gomes from the Cincinnati Reds.  In return, the Reds receive Bill Rhinehart and Chris Manno.

This move doesn't make much sense from the Nationals' perspective.  Gomes isn't what you would call a talented baseball player.  His best season was worth 2.7 fWAR, and that was 6 seasons ago.  In the 6 and 2/3 seasons since then he's been worth a total of 1.6 fWAR.  He has some power and can bash lefties, but the Nationals aren't in contention this season and Gomes is a free agent after the season.

Gomes [I]may[/I] be a type B free agent after the season.  If (1) that is so, and if (2) the Nationals offer him arbitration, and if (3) he accepts, and if (4) another team signs him to a major league contract, the Nationals would receive a supplemental draft pick in the 2012 draft.  The Nationals could feel that the value of that pick exceeds the value of the players given up but that's at least 4 'if's' connected to a maybe.  

The most interesting part of this trade is that the Reds have called up Yonder Alonso to replace Gomes on the Roster.

I was hoping that the Dodgers would acquire Alonso to replace James Loney at first base.  Yonder Alonso (is an awesome name) has shown the ability to draw walks while avoiding strikeouts and hitting for some power during his minor league career.  He has a career .364/.478 line in 854 AAA plate appearances.   That translates to something like a .310/.400 line in the major leagues.  Over the last 3 plus seasons Loney is hitting .335/.396.  Alonso would likely give equivalent production for 1/10th the cost.  

Gomes had started 51 of Cincinnati's 102 games in LF.  Fred Lewis and Chris Heisey had been getting more playing time recently though.  Alonso won't be displacing Joey Votto from first base any time soon (save for injury) so it remains to be seen how the Reds employ Alonso.  

A quick note on the two guys the Nats traded away:
Bill Rhinehart is a 26 year old OF/1B who has never shown much ability to hit until this season.
Chris Manno is a 22 year old left-hander who strikes out 40% of the 19 year olds he faces in A-ball.

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