After the Athletics acquired Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes from Boston on Thursday, twitter was abuzz with speculation. The most interesting piece of speculation came on the behalf of Gomes’ former teammate in Oakland, one Brandon McCarthy.
I could explode the heads of a lot of people I respect and enjoy talking to by making the argument that Gomes is just as important as Lester
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) July 31, 2014
That is some pretty high praise, considering that Lester has a career playoff ERA of 2.11. Jonny Gomes on the other hand is a great addition to the clubhouse, especially with someone as well-liked as Yoenis Cespedes departing. In 2012, Gomes and Josh Reddick had a connection. 2012 was also the season that Reddick put up his, wait for it, Reddickulous numbers. I know, that’s terrible.
While Josh Reddick has been swinging the bat much better as of late, if the addition of Jonny Gomes can keep that going, and help return Reddick to the player he was in 2012, then this trade will end up being a steal. Considering that Reddick has a great first half of 2012, and then faded a little down the stretch, if the addition of Gomes can help Reddick get first half of 2012 hot, then the A’s may not miss Cespedes as much in the playoffs.
That is all speculation though. Let’s look at some numbers. Word is that Gomes will be platooning left field with Stephen Vogt. This season, Jonny Gomes is batting .302 against lefties with a .400 OBP. Couple that production with Vogt’s against righties (.365 AVG, .396 OBP) and we have a pretty effective platoon to replace Cespedes. Add in Jon Lester as a bonus, and this team has improved in a big way with the addition of an ace that can and will shut down the opposition.
Looking ahead to the series everyone now anticipates, Jonny Gomes has a lifetime batting average of just .194 against current Tigers’ pitching, while Vogt is hitting .318. The addition of Gomes will definitely help to get the A’s into the postseason, but getting past the Tigers will take a complete team effort. The addition of Jon Lester comes in to play here, because of his playoff track record. If Lester is who we are expecting, the offensive struggles that the A’s have faced in the playoffs the past two seasons may still occur, but it only takes one big hit to win a game with Lester on the mound.
According to Susan Slusser’s Drumbeat, Jonny Gomes said, “I came back for my ring”. This obviously fired up the fan base. If this is anything close to the inspiration he gives his teammates, then Brandon McCarthy may be correct in his analysis.
This could finally be the year that Billy Beane’s *stuff* works in the playoffs, and Jonny Gomes could be a big reason why, whether it’s on or off the field.