There is no such thing as a bad one year contract.
On Tuesday night the Rangers re-signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal worth $11.5 million, and it was my suspicion that he was their preferred choice over Ian Desmond all along. (Desmond, meanwhile, signed today with the Rockies for 5 years and $70 million, netting the Rangers the 11th overall pick in next year’s amateur draft.)
This is similar to what Texas did last year, signing Desmond to a one-year pillow contract, in hopes that he would outperform the deal — which he did. Then the Rangers said thank you very much, he signed with the Rockies, and now the Rangers have a first round pick.
Gomez’s one-year deal gives Texas some flexibility, both from a business and personnel standpoint. As the roster stands, Gomez will slide into center field, with Nomar Mazara in left and Shin-Soo Choo in right. But if the team is able to procure a better defensive center fielder — like Lorenzo Cain, for instance — then they can slide Gomez to left, Mazara to right and Choo would be the DH.
On the business front, should everything break well the Rangers could defend their AL West crown in 2017. But should they fold before the trade deadline, they could always flip Gomez to a contender and recoup a prospect or two. Or, they could do the same as with Desmond, letting Gomez establish his market, and get a couple draft picks once he leaves in free agency next winter.
For the Rangers, 2017 is the year. It has to be. There is no certainty that Yu Darvish will re-sign with Texas after this year, and with the current makeup of the roster — mostly prime- to post-prime players — there is no easy path to keeping the Rangers competitive past this season.
You have to love Carlos Gomez — who sported a .284/.362/.543 (139 wRC+) line during a Fuck You campaign over the season’s final month and change — at $11.5 million for one year. Depending on how much one Win is worth, whether it’s $7.5 million (on the low end) or $10 million, Gomez shouldn’t have any trouble being a three-win outfielder in 2017.
I don’t know what to make of the rest of Texas’s offseason plans, mainly because I don’t know how much money they are actually trying to spend, but I do think there is a good chance this isn’t the only center fielder the Rangers are looking to acquire. The fact is a Mazara/Gomez/Choo outfield is, at best, average defensively. Mazara and Choo don’t run well, and a 31 year-old Carlos Gomez doesn’t play center like 25 year-old Carlos Gomez.
If Carlos slides into left, Mazara goes to right, and Choo goes to DH, the Rangers would effectively improve its defense at all three positions, and I’m almost certain I would take Choo’s bat at DH over the internal alternatives.