Jonny Gomes was traded to the Nationals in late July and probably hasn’t hit enough to make them want to re-sign him, but for his part the 30-year-old outfielder would love to be back in Washington next season.
And not just because of the money or the city, but because as Gomes told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post he thinks the Nationals are ready to make leap to contending:
I think this team is going to be friggin’ good. I don’t really think it’s going to be a sleeper, either. I think everyone knows, from guys I’ve talked to on the other teams that we’ve played, from what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a little taste of the farm system coming up. I definitely want to be a part of it, absolutely.
It’d be easy to make a joke about a 30-year-old mediocre outfielder talking about staying with a sub-.500 team because they’re ready to contend, but I actually agree with Gomes … sort of. I’m not sure that the Nationals will be quite ready to contend next season, but I’d bet on them finishing above .500 for the first time since they were the Expos in 2003 and by 2013 it wouldn’t surprise me if they made a legitimate playoff run.
Of course, how Gomes might fit into that mix remains unclear. He’s batted just .209 with 14 homers and a .714 OPS this season, which isn’t acceptable production from a poor defensive corner outfielder. As a Type B free agent Gomes would fetch a supplemental first-round draft pick for the Nationals if they offer him arbitration and he declines to sign elsewhere, except Gomes indicated to Kilgore that he’d likely accept the offer and essentially lock the team into a one-year deal for around $2 million.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).