When asked if he would like to return to the Washington Nationals in 2012, recently acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes told the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore that he would be a little bit more than excited to be a Nat next season:
“I think this team is going to be friggin’ good,” Gomes said. “I don’t really think it’s going to be a sleeper, either. I think everyone knows, from guys I’ve talked to on the team other team that we’ve played, from what I’ve seen. I’ve seen a little taste of the farm system coming up. I definitely want to be a part of it, absolutely.”
The interesting thing about this passage is that Gomes is a man who knows what it’s like to be part of a young team that develops into a World Series contender. The 30-year-old platoon outfielder started his career in Tampa Bay, where he saw the young crop of talent help the Rays go from cellar dwellers to posting a franchise best 97-65 record in 2008. In 2009 he went to the Cincinnati Reds where he suffered one losing season before the team’s young talent exploded to post a 91-71 record in 2010.
Simply put, Gomes knows what it’s like to be around talent and to watch it evolve into something special. The outfielder sees that metamorphosis happening here, and apparently so do other’s in the league. It’s an exciting time for baseball fans in Washington, and apparently, for the first time, baseball players are excited to be here.
As Kilgore points out, it’s beneficial for the Nationals to offer Gomes arbitration. Despite his poor on the field performance since coming over in a trade mid-season, Gomes is a type-B free-agent which means if the team offers him arbitration and he declines, they will likely get a draft pick in return from whatever team does sign him.
Since coming to Washington, Gomes has hit just .204/.299/.366 with three home runs and 12 RBI, and would likely not receive much in an arbitration case.