I’ll let you in on a little secret. Whenever players change teams, the beat writers will swap info about whether a player is good to work with. In our jobs, it’s always a little easier if the player is a nice guy and can deliver a few quotable lines.
When the Sox signed Jonny Gomes, a friend in Oakland texted to say that he was great with the writers.
Gomes hopped on a conference call today and he delivered the goods.
The idea of going to the Red Sox appealed to Gomes for reasons beyond the two-year, $10 million contract he received. He said he has been in awe of Fenway Park since coming up with the Tampa Bay Rays and considers Boston “the Mecca of baseball.”
Sox fans, he said, are the “Chevy and American Pie of baseball.”
Gomes also likes the idea of helping the team recover from a last-place finish.
“I know the core guys of the Red Sox,” he said. “I know Dustin [Pedroia], I know Jacoby [Ellsbury], I know [Jon] Lester. I know Big Papi [David Ortiz]. … The Red Sox are going to play with the biggest chip on their shoulder.
“I would be honored and love to bring back the fire to the Nation. Me being a historian of the game and a fan of the game, it was a pretty easy decision to call Fenway home.”
Gomes had a unique view of his role.
“How does a big machine run? A big machine runs with a lot of grease. You get a tall building with all kinds of fancy windows. It’s that foundation that keeps that building up. I always say I represent the grease that runs the machine, not the machine. I represent the foundation, not the star at the top.”
That’s gold, Jerry. Gold.
Gomes has been a platoon player the last two seasons, getting most of his starts against lefthanded pitchers. But the Red Sox see him as more than that.
“He’ll have the opportunity to earn the highest number of at-bats that he can,” manager John Farrell said.
Gomes is a career .223 hitter against righthanders with a .732 OPS. He hit .209 against righties last season for Oakland. He had a .709 OPS against righthanders when he was a regular for the Reds in 2010.
“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,” Ben Cherington said.
“He plays with an edge. He’s familiar with the AL East. He’s a good fit all the way around.”