Sure, Carlos Gomez is the problem in Houston

Associated Press
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No one will claim that Carlos Gomez is playing up to his ability. He’s got a .634 OPS in the 65 games he’s played for the Astros between last year and this year. Not good at all.

Still, he seems to be taking an outsized amount of the blame for the Astros’ slow start to this year. I do a weekly radio hit on a Texas station and Gomez has been the talk for three weeks when the Astros’ troubles are mentioned. Today Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle spends a whole column going at Gomez, with the usual dash of “you can’t be flamboyant if you can’t back it up” sentiment often given to players like Gomez when they struggle but which is seemingly never given to players whose act is more “tough guy.” Funny that.

More notable: nowhere in the column is it mentioned that, overall, the Astros’ offense is above league average and that, in reality, it’s the pitching that’s killing them. Gomez may not be carrying his weight, but his teammates in the lineup are for now, as teammates do for every hitter at one time of the year or another. Meanwhile, Smith doesn’t seem to be writing columns about how three of the Astros’ five starters have ERAs above 5.00 and how the bullpen has been a disaster. Gomez, however, gets a “Rally Killer” subheading in reference to his performance in a game his team actually won, primarily due to the offense.

There’s also an unfortunate quote in the article. Specifically, Smith quotes Gomez as saying “For the last year and this year, I not really do much for this team. The fans be angry. They be disappointed.”

I’m sure that’s what he said, but it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the quote’s imperfect English fits satisfyingly into a column designed to rip Gomez and that it’s going to play right into stereotyping a certain sort of reader who has just HAD it with those allegedly lazy, entitled Latino players likes to engage in. For the record, its not uncommon for other players whose grammar is less than perfect to get [the bracket treatment] to make the mistakes less noticeable. Or, if the quote is less than clear or enlightening, to get the paraphrasing treatment and have his sentiment conveyed in keeping with the intent of the sentiment. I guess Gomez doesn’t get that treatment. He gets to be portrayed in such a way that a certain sort of reader will unfortunately interpret as him being too dumb or too lazy to learn proper English or something.

And no, it’s not just sensitive old Craig noticing that:

Empathy is the key word here, I think. Smith as no interest in portraying Gomez as a player who, like all players, struggles from time to time. He has to be the bad guy who is responsible for all of the Astros’ woes, it seems.

White Sox acquire reliever Franklin German in trade with Red Sox

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CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox acquired reliever Franklin German in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.

The White Sox sent minor league right-hander Theo Denlinger to Boston for German, who made his major league debut in September. Right-hander Jason Bilous was designated for assignment to make room for German on Chicago’s 40-man roster.

The 25-year-old German played for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester for most of last season, going 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and seven saves in in 43 relief appearances. The right-hander had no record and an 18.00 ERA in five appearances with the Red Sox.

German, a fourth-round pick in the 2018 amateur draft, was designated for assignment when Boston acquired reliever Richard Bleier in a trade with Miami.

The 26-year-old Denlinger had a 2-2 record and a 4.47 ERA in 40 appearances last season with Class A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham. He was a seventh-round selection in the 2021 draft out of Bradley University.