Carlos Gomez and the Brewers have agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract extension, the team announced.
Gomez is making $4.3 million this season in his final year of arbitration eligibility and would have hit the open market as a free agent next winter. Instead according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com he’ll get $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015, and $9 million in 2016.
Gomez was once a top prospect, but looked like a bust before a career-year at the plate in 2012. He hit .260 with 19 homers and 37 steals in 137 games while posting a .768 OPS that’s 90 points higher than his previous best mark, although Gomez’s awful plate discipline and strike-zone control remained with a 98/20 K/BB ratio. Overall, with both offense and defense factored in, he was probably a top-10 center fielder.
Clearly the Brewers are either buying into last season’s power development sticking around for good or simply believe his excellent range in center field makes Gomez an above-average player regardless of whether he regresses at the plate. Three years and $24 million is a big commitment to someone with a .673 career OPS, but elite defensive center fielders don’t have to hit much to provide big value and $7-$9 million per season isn’t exactly superstar money these days. Depending on how far you trust various defensive metrics, Gomez was worth about twice that much last season.