Isabelle Minasian - A defense against a bad decision
This perfectly sums up Gomez's stint with the #Astros https://t.co/bJ1vHg8AWb— Josh Reddoch (@JoshReddoch) August 10, 2016
That's it, that's my whole defense.
Okay, no, there's more to it than that. As I'm sure David would point out, that clip is a more isolated incident in the career of a man who was a Gold Glove winner just three seasons ago. But do not be persuaded by the sparkling numbers of the past, because in the here and now Carlos Gomez has demonstrated one of the more majestic plummets in recent history. Let's break this defense against Gomez into two categories, so that you may read or ignore, what you choose.
The numbers: After being traded to the Astros last season he was worth just 0.7 WAR but if that sounds unpleasant, this season he's currently worth a solid -0.8. He's slashing a charming .210/.272/.322 and, though his astronomical 31 % strikeout rate is what gets the most attention, his 29.3% of hard hit balls is the lowest it's been since 2010. This, coupled with a FB% a good 5-10 points lower than any other point in his career, does not bode well for a guy still trying to be a power hitter. I'm a bit skeptical of defensive metrics, but here's a small sampling just for fun: This season is the first that he's posted a negative dWAR (-0.4) as well as a negative DRS (-11), and it has also been his first negative UZR rating (-0.1) since 2010. If you want to see some gloriously jagged graphs and a much more in depth statistical analysis, check out the vaunted Jeff Sullivan's recent piece here.
The intangibles (aka NO NUMBERS): This section is really just pure speculation but it's worth noting that, despite the season-long merry go round that is the Mariners bullpen, there has been relatively little change in position players. Save for the 25th man (we're rooting for ya, Shawn), the Mariners' core has remained nearly unchanged, for better or for worse. All of this is to say that I would be genuinely surprised if Dipoto was to make a big change in the clubhouse this close to a playoff push. You may yell at me down in the comments all you like, but Jerry & Co. seem to have put a premium on clubhouse culture and organizational transparency. Bringing in a guy in the middle of August who's been struggling, coupled with prior questions about attitude, just doesn't seem to fall in line with what has, thus far, been a fairly open process.
Carlos Gomez? More like Carlos No-mez. It's Puig or nothing, Jerry.
David Skiba - Sign Carlos Gomez
I could write two-thousand words on why you grab Gomez at the bottom of his value, but I'll try to make this short. Listen, we all know that Carlos Gomez has been bad this year. That's why he was DFA'd. I am writing all of this under the supposition that Gomez is fully healthy, but in a terrible funk. This situation wouldn't exist at all if Carlos Gomez was even remotely decent this season, and that's because of who Carlos Gomez has been. Any acquisition of Carlos Gomez will be done essentially exclusive of this entire year of baseball. His shoulders are noisy, his upper-half isn't connected to his hips at all, and he's clearly exacerbated the issue by selling out for dingers. There's some fixes to be made, unquestionably. As well, the chemistry issues are not invalid. Carlos Gomez is the sort of player that plays every single game with a fire lit under his ass. He's in your face, and you just hope he's on your side when the dust settles. So, why take a chance on him?
It is my sincere belief that the best organizations churn talent when the reward outweighs the risk. Let's first address the literal cost in dollars of moving for Gomez. Carlos Gomez is owed something like $2.5M to finish the season, hardly a drop in the ocean of the Seattle Mariners payroll. After the season ends, he's a UFA, off the books. Why the M's should acquire Gomez is multi-fold. It's no question that Gomez brings a certain level of "wildcard" to the clubhouse. I cannot imagine a better place, full of veteran presence that is also almost entirely Latin American, than the M's. What's more is that the Mariners have whatever the platonic ideal of a hitting coach is in Edgar Martinez, another Latin American whose hitting stripes are well-known. Remember how quickly (three weeks) he was able to get Mark Trumbo mashing?
Ultimately, you're replacing a player like Nori Aoki with Carlos Gomez. Or someone else on your 40 Man (Hey, Steve Baron). Carlos Gomez is a known commodity on defense, and can easily spell Leonys Martin in center field when needed. His arm is a rocket, his range is just fine. What Gomez has in him, somewhere, is his 2013-14 seasons where he acquired over 13 fWAR in two seasons. When he's on, he's an absolute monster. His power tool and speed are a lethal combination, and if you can quiet him down at the plate, and get him trusting his swing more and flailing less, he's an unbelievable asset down the stretch.
When you're chasing the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years, it's time to try everything in the toolbox, especially the opportunities that fall in your lap. The worst that could happen with Gomez is you DFA him, he clears waivers, and sits in Tacoma making just under $3M. I say, the reward is well-worth the risk.