Jonny Gomes has hit .233/.307/.425 against righthanded pitchers in his career, .209/.324/.391 last season.
His value comes in mashing lefties (.284/.382/.512).
But Red Sox GM Ben Cherington indicated this morning that Gomes, who was signed to a two-year deal, would be the primary left fielder next season.
“We see him playing a lot of left field. We think his bat fits well in the lineup and the ballpark,” Cherington said. “We did a lot of work on him and he’s developed a really good reputation as a leader in the clubhouse, a guy that can mentor young players and be a big influence. He plays with an edge. He’s familiar with the AL East. He’s a good fit all the way around.
“We expect him to play a lot. Exactly how many at-bats it ends up being, that’s up to John [Farrell] and I guess up to Jonny. He’ll have the opportunity play a lot. We see him as an important part of the team.”
Asked about Gomes struggling against righthanders, Cherington said:
“He’s had opportunities where he has handled righthanders pretty well. I think the ballpark is a good fit for him. He’s a grinder, he’s an intense competitor. So we’ll see. I think matchups aren’t always all about left/right. Sometimes there’s certain pitchers that a guy’s a good fit with and others who they aren’t. Those things are up to John [Farrell] and the staff to figure out. Jonny’s a guy we just felt fits well on a numbers of fronts, from a personality standpoint, from an ability standpoint.”
Gomes was last an everyday player with the Reds in 2010. He had 346 at-bats against righthanders that season and hit .257/.301/.408.
Cherington also indicated the Red Sox would be interested in signing one more outfielder, not two.
“We’d certainly like to add one. We wouldn’t rule out more than that. We’d like to add another outfielder. After that we’ll see what’s available,” he said.
“We’ve always felt it’s important at Fenway to have not just somebody who can play right field but really two guys that can handle center or right. I think our best teams have had that in the past. Easier said than done. That would be optimal.”