Full disclosure: Carlos Gomez in his prime was one of my favorite baseball players to watch. I don’t if I would want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and share a yurt with him, but his combination of speed, defense, and electricity was just thrilling. So I’ve always been in favor of him on the Giants.
That’s Carlos Gomez in his prime. This version is something of a mess. The Astros are contending, and they chose the roster spot over Gomez, which should give you a pretty good idea of how excited he should make another contending team.
On the other hand, there is a rumor. From Tim Kawakami’s latest podcast:
I asked Giants executive vice president Brian Sabean today directly if the team was interested in just-released outfielder Carlos Gomez…
And Sabean said Gomez is being discussed internally, but the Giants have to find out if Gomez would fit in their outfield and would be agreeable to a possible part-time job.
The exact words were "He’s a name who’s in play." And if there’s a rumor, well, let’s just crack our knuckles and dive in. Gomez has hit .221/.277/.342 in his 126 games with the Astros over the last two seasons, good for a cool 0.0 WAR. That would seem to make him less than desirable, to be kind.
However, Gregor Blanco has been even worse (-1 WAR, mostly because of defense). You know I’m in the tank for Blanco (shark joke!), but if you’re talking about upside, I’ll go with Gomez, of course. Both players are dealing with health issues, but Gomez is a) younger and b) is the dude who’s picked up MVP votes in his career.
The real issue is if Gomez is better than either Mac Williamson and/or Jarrett Parker. Because if you’re willing to part ways with Blanco to make room — that’s Gregor Blanco, five-year Giants veteran and important cog on two championship teams to you — maybe you should just cut out the middleman and go with the young players who were recently productive, rather than the 30-year-old veteran who has been awful over the last year.
And if you’re considering ditching that clubhouse-friendly veteran to make room for a fourth-outfielder upgrade, maybe you just wait 12 days to not ditch him. Keeps the clubhouse happy. Expands your options for the final month and a possible postseason run.
If Gomez had another year under his contract, I’d be the first to clamor for him. As is, the only reason to play him over Blanco, Williamson, or Parker is if you think that the last calendar year was some sort of unfortunate mirage, that he’s still the All-Star after all, and that he could make a huge difference over the last month.
Considering the Astros sort of know what they’re doing and they didn’t want to take that chance, I’m guessing those odds are slim. Stick with Blanco, and he’s still in an awful funk over the next 12 games, bury him behind Parkilliamson for the final month. I’m not sure where a player like Gomez fits on the 2016 Giants. They have some holes, but fourth and fifth outfielders shouldn't be one of them, especially when September 1 comes around.