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.