Jonny Gomes is still searching for a better offer

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General manager Walt Jocketty said today that he expects Jonny Gomes to accept or decline the Reds’ offer by Sunday. “He wants to come back, but he’s taking a last look at what’s out there,” Jocketty said.
It’s tough to blame Gomes for continuing to shop around, because despite hitting .267/.338/.541 with 20 homers in 314 plate appearances last season to rank second on the team in OPS behind Joey Votto the Reds have offered him only a minor-league deal. Worse yet, that seems to be his best offer.
Gomes would likely be able to secure a minor-league deal from multiple other teams, but no one seems willing to hand him guaranteed money or a 25-man roster spot and Cincinnati appears to be his best chance for playing time. By re-signing with the Reds he’d likely platoon in left field with Chris Dickerson, getting another 200-300 plate appearances in a role that maximizes his strength against left-handed pitching.
The market for defensively challenged right-handed hitters who’re best suited to platoon against lefties hasn’t been very strong this offseason, with Marcus Thames, Mike Sweeney, Robb Quinlan, and Kevin Millar signing minor-league deals, Ryan Garko, Andruw Jones, and Fernando Tatis getting under $1 million, and Jermaine Dye and Gary Sheffield still looking for work.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.