That’s not where anyone expected him to go.
The Nationals announced Tuesday that they’ve acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash from the Reds for outfielder Bill Rhinehart and left-hander Chris Manno.
Even though the Nationals are 49-52, leaving them nine games back of the Braves in the wild card and 15 games behind the Phillies in the NL East, they’re picking up an outfielder who is set to become a free agent at season’s end. Gomes is a useful player with his ability to smack lefties around, and he’ll be a nice fit as a platoon partner for Laynce Nix in left field for the next couple of months. Whether that really does the Nationals any good or not is debatable.
In return, the Reds get a 26-year-old Double-A outfielder and a 22-year-old low-A-ball reliever. Both players have terrific numbers this year; Rhinehart is hitting .283/.376/.587 with 21 homers and 59 RBI in 276 at-bats for Double-A Harrisburg, while Manno has a 1.04 ERA and a 69/15 K/BB ratio in 43 1/3 innings for low-A Hagerstown. Still, neither is considered a very legitimate prospect. Manno has the better chance of surfacing in the majors someday.
The bigger news for the Reds is that Gomes’ departure has resulted in Yonder Alonso’s arrival, as the former first-round pick was called up today. Alonso, a natural first baseman, hit .296/.374/.486 with 12 homers while playing mostly left field for Triple-A Louisville. A left-handed hitter, he’ll likely share time with the right-handed Chris Heisey in left field, leaving Fred Lewis to take a backseat.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.