The newest National, Jonny Gomes, spent 15 minutes chatting with Manager Davey Johnson this afternoon, an initial chat Johnson plans on following up on later. When Gomes walked through the clubhouse, he arrived at his locker to see a uniform there hanging up. “I’ve got my name on the jersey,” Gomes said. “That’s pretty much official right there.”
During his first day with the Nationals after they acquired him from the Reds yesterday, Gomes is out of the lineup. Johnson told him, “I want you to meet the guys, get your uniform. I won’t throw you out there today, but I’ll throw you out there tomorrow.”
Johnson still had not talked about Gomes’s role with the Nationals, but chances are he will form some kind of platoon with Laynce Nix in left field. Gomes told Johnson he’s comfortable in both corners of the outfield, but the Nationals obviously have a right fielder in Jayson Werth.
”I’m just willing to do whatever it takes,” Gomes said. “I told him I’m comfortable in both corners, I can run, I’m comfortable with doing everything, so I just left the door open to him and let him know I’m ready when my number’s called and whatever he’s got planned for me I’m all right.”
Gomes was traded for the first time in his career, and he said he wasn’t quite sure at first how to react. “You don’t really know how to take it: a team giving up on you or a team grabbing you and wanting your services and reaching out to you,” Gomes said. “I’m definitely a glass half-full guy so I take the positive out of it. I’m excited to be here for the next couple of months.”
Gomes also wasn’t surprised by the trade. The Reds have been falling out of the National League Central race, and he had heard his crop up in trade talk for some time. He had added value, General Manager Mike Rizzo said, from the fact that he’s projected to be a Type B free agent, and so the Nationals will receive a draft pick if they offer him arbitration this winter and he signs elsewhere.
“This day and age, you know, when you start getting surprised, you’re not paying too much attention.” Gomes said. “I had some pretty good hints that I was getting moved, kind of saw how things were going over there, but I’m happy I found out. It’s a great opportunity, it’s a real strong clubhouse in here, this team’s put together pretty strong. Rizzo, this is a solid team here. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Gomes is hitting .211/.336/.399 this season, a respectable on-base percentage despite a low batting average. “It’s really weird,” Gomes said. “I’ve got a very interesting, unique line. If you were to cover up my average, you’d be like, ‘All right, this guy’s doing all right.’ Then you pull the average and you’re like, ‘What happened?’
“The home runs are there, and everything’s kind of there. But just kind of the opportunity. I went into just a platoon role and then I went into just a lefty role and, you know, not bitter about it, but when your role changes three times, for the most part, it’s kind of tough. I’ve been working on my swing, ironing some stuff out and I’m excited to get it going.”
Gomes has played with Laynce Nix and Jerry Hairston in the past. Both Nix and Hairston said Gomes would provide levity in the clubhouse. “He’s a great guy,” Nix said. “He’ll add a lot to this clubhouse with his personality. I’m excited. Jonny will be good to have around.”