Carlos Gomez Would be a Superstar Acquisition. Would He be Worth It?
Last week I proposed multiple ways in which the Indians could improve their defensive issues, particularly out in center field. I kicked the tires on several internal options and presented my two favorite external options, Ender Inciarte and Jarrod Dyson. Both are currently trapped in crowded outfields and could come cheap(er).
One other option that I considered but felt would be out of the Indians’ price range was Carlos Gomez. For those of you who may not be aware, Gomez is a borderline superstar level talent for the Milwaukee Brewers. He is a rare combination of speed and power to go along with exceptional defense in center. He would also placate to those who clamor for a right-handed power hitter.
On the downside, Gomez is also a volatile personality that has had his fair share of run-ins in the past. He plays with passion and is a bit of a hot head. Yes, these are things that also need to be taken into account. With 162 games per season over the course of six months (seven if you include playoffs), a player has to fit in the clubhouse.
So, if he’s that good, why then did I decide to leave him out of my list?
Ultimately, it came down to price, a price I don’t believe the Indians would be willing to pay.
Gomez currently has a year and a half left on his current contract with the Brewers. In today’s current baseball climate, that makes it the perfect time for the Brewers to trade him away and still manage to get a maximum return. Trading Gomez now ensures that he is little more than just a rent-a-player for whoever acquires him. That level of control, as limited as it is, comes with a premium price tag. It’s the same reason the Indians traded Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez sooner rather than later.
So what would it take for the Indians to acquire Gomez? As Ric McElroy explained for the Factory of Sadness, it would probably take an elite level prospect and a young pitcher to make the deal happen. Ultimately it depends on the timetable to Brewers are working on. If they plan a soft reboot, Francisco Lindor could very well be a deal breaker. If they plan a full reboot and roster overhaul, lower level prospects, like Clint Frazier, might be more ideal.
Apr 4, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez (27) at bat against the Cleveland Indians at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
In order to get Gomez, who again is a borderline superstar, the Indians would more likely than not have to include either Lindor or Frazier. After that, the Brewers would probably want pitching, pitching, and more pitching. Maybe it would take the choice of Lindor or Frazier along with Cody Anderson and a lottery ticket type prospect to get it done. Regardless, the Indians would have to ante up a solid package to make it happen.
Now, if the Indians did acquire Gomez, what would that mean for the team on the field? Well, Gomez would automatically plug-in as the everyday center fielder. Sorry Michael Bourn and you’re $27-million left on your contract. Gomez does everything you are supposed to do, but better, and hits for power, something you’ve never done. Bourn is a sunk cost at this point and it isn’t worth the headache of fitting him into a square peg anymore. He can have more value on the field as the fourth outfielder instead of a lackluster everyday player.
Gomez has hit everywhere from lead-off to cleanup in the Brewers lineup. With spots one through three finally set in the Indians lineup, Gomez would fit nicely into the cleanup spot, thus shifting everyone down one spot and adding much-needed length to the lineup. Once he gets on base, give him the green light. Again, this is an element that seems to be missing from the Indians lineup.
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Even more importantly, because Gomez still has an additional year left on his current contract. The Indians would have the time to work out a deal or flip him in 2016 and recoup the assets lost to acquire him. A new deal would seem unlikely. Gomez will most likely want at least seven years and upwards of $100-million. That doesn’t seem like the long-term commitment the Indians would want to make. That would make the second option much more likely if this were to occur, but would depend on a variety of uncontrollable factors, i.e. Gomez health and performance or the Indians ability to compete this year and next.
In conclusion, there is a lot to like about Carlos Gomez. I repeat… A LOT. He would be the best possible fit into a solid lineup that would only get better with his addition. Unfortunately, the asking price to acquire him combined with the cost to keep him long-term is just too much for the Indians and their current blueprint for building a successful franchise. Gomez is a Ferrari. Middle class income families have no business buying Ferraris. It’s a nice thought, but ultimately, it just seems too unlikely to happen.