The Cody Ross era in Boston appears over. The Red Sox have agreed to terms with Jonny Gomes on a two-year deal that’s worth $10 million, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
The $5 million annual salary is four times more than Gomes has ever earned before. He made $1 million while hitting .262/.377/.491 in his lone season with the A’s.
The Red Sox are paying a steep price for a guy who belongs on the bad side of a platoon. Gomes has hit .284/.382/.512 against lefties and .223/.307/.425 against righties in his career. That line against righties isn’t so bad, but considering that Gomes is a subpar defender, he’s a poor option as a full-time player.
It’s hard to imagine the Red Sox now re-signing Ross. The two are essentially the same hitter; Ross has come in at .284/.353/.575 hitter against lefties and .253/.312/.415 against righties in his career. Ross is the clearly superior defender and thus is a better option as a starter against righties. However, he was believed to be asking for something in the neighborhood of $24 million for three years.
Gomes will join Daniel Nava, Ryan Sweeney, Ryan Kalish and Jerry Sands in the mix for corner outfield at-bats in Boston. Ideally, Kalish, the biggest talent in the bunch, would step up and claim the right field job, at least against righties.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.