All off-season Brian Cashman has been telling anyone that would listen that the Yankees only had X amount of dollars to spend and that they were going to stick to their budget. The recent signing of Randy Winn only seemed to prove that point even further. Winn was the economical, safe option. While I have no problem with the signing, I do think that signing a defensive minded Winn affords the Yankees the opportunity to sign a "Big Bopper." In my opinion that "Big Bopper's" name is Jonny Gomes. Sure the Yankees have had some problems with Gomes in the past, but the past is the past. With Winn and Gardner the Yankees have two very good defensive options for left field. They also have two players that historically do not hit lefties all that well. Gomes on the other hand does hit lefties very well and with power. Of his 86 career home runs, Gomes has hit 30 against lefties in just 515 at bats. (Gomes has 56 home runs against RHP in almost 1200 at bats.) His overall line against lefties: .274/.369/.517. The issue with Gomes has always been his defense, but in 2009 Gomes posted a UZR of 1.0 in 253 innings and a UZR/150 of 1.0 in left field. (Just for reference Bay was a -13.0 and Damon was a -9.2 in 2009 in LF) When given platoon level at bats, Gomes flat out performs. Over his career when given 285 plus at bats, he has hit less than 20 home runs only once. (17 in 2007)
Bottom line is that Gomes mashes righties. He can also field well enough (in my opinion) to platoon with Gardner/Winn as the right side of a lefty/righty split. In addition, Gomes can also play right field and spell Swisher if needed. Unfortunately, signing Gomes would most likely mean the end of Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffman, who is yet another defensive minded outfielder. Is losing Hoffman enough to keep you from making this move? I don't think so. According to Cot's Contracts Gomes made $600,000 in 2009 with the Reds. Not sure what his contract demands would be for 2010, but it seems that Gomes would be financially within the scope of reason for the Yankees. Signing Gomes just seems to make sense. At the very least it would strengthen the bench, at the very best we'd have one heck of a left field platoon. Let's get it done Cash!