NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rays manager Joe Maddon is always one of the most entertaining and insightful people to speak to in baseball. He also knows Jonny Gomes and Mike Napoli pretty well.
Maddon managed Gomes and was the bench coach with the Angels when Napoli was there.
Here is some of what he had to say today:
Maddon on Gomes being a presence in the clubhouse: “There’s something about Jonny, yeah. I saw [Kevin] Millar right there. I was thinking of Millar right there. Jonny Gomes, he’s a different cat. He really cares. He really cares about the rest of the group.”
Maddon on Gomes as a player: “I think he’s really improved his batting stance and shortness of his swing the last couple of years have been more effective, and I know the kind of hitter that he plays in that ballpark. I know he’s going to ingratiate himself to the fans there. He’s the perfect guy. John is going to fit in really well there. Good for the Red Sox.”
Maddon on Napoli: “Love Nap. He came on a couple of years in Texas. What made him great is acceptance of the opposite field. He became much more difficult with two strikes. Nap’s always had severe power. I remember working on him at the backfields at Diablo, just trying to clean up some things back then, because he had this enormous power, but there was a lot of swing and missing too.”
“He’s made some really great adjustments. He’s a makeup guy like [Gomes] is. Not as outspoken as Jon, maybe not as flamboyant in a sense, but a man’s man kind of a thing. Going to be great in the clubhouse. Nap is a good catcher. Pitchers like him. Pitchers like Nap. Probably maybe not going to catch as much. But both of them together are going to bring a lot of positives to that clubhouse. There’s no doubt. And it’s good for the Red Sox.
Here’s what Oakland manager Bob Melvin had to say about Gomes:
“That was a nice little deal. … He’s in a good place for him. I know he’s excited about it, and I’ve talked to him a couple times since the deal, and he’s excited. … He’s just a guy that’s respected [in the clubhouse] based on the fact that he’s there to win. He’s been some places where their teams weren’t expected to do well and did. I mean, everywhere he’s been, it seems like teams have done pretty well. You know, especially for us with the younger group last year, he was kind of a resource for a lot of our younger guys, and there’s certain guys that are able to do that, and he’s one of them.”