Nationals GM Mike Rizzo just wrapped up a quick meeting with reporters to discuss the Nationals latest acquisition: right-handed outfielder Jonny Gomes (and cash) from the Cincinnati Reds.
The quick hits are that Rizzo felt the team was lacking a true right-handed power threat off the bench, he solicited the Reds to discuss a deal for Gomes — a former teammate of left-handed power guy Laynce Nix — and expects Gomes to get a lot of at-bats against left-handed pitching. The Nationals will make a corresponding roster move on Wednesday to make room for Gomes on both the 40-man and 25-man rosters. Rizzo also added that working out a deal with Gomes to remain in the organization after this season is also a possibility.
Here’s some of what Rizzo had to say about Gomes:
“He’s an experienced right-handed hitter who really has great success against left-handed pitching. He’s hit 18-20 home runs the last couple of years. Having a solid year this year with 11 home runs and he’s a presence on the bench, he’s a presence in the lineup and I’m sure Davey (Johnson’s) going to utilize him to his fullest.
“He’s a power guy. He’ll get on base, he’ll take his walks. He can get on base, he can drive in a run and most importantly he can change the game with one swing of the bat.”
On whether or not Gomes will serve in a platoon role with Nix in LF: “I’ll probably leave that up to Davey, see what he says about that. I envision him getting a lot of at-bats against left-handed pitching for sure. If there’s an accelerated role beyond that, we’ll have to see.”
On whether or not Gomes being on track for Type B free agent status after the season played a part: “That’s always a plan for when we talk about acquiring players. If you get the added benefit of a B compensation pick which could translate into a nice solid draft pick for us, is always part of the plan.”
On if he felt the team was lacking a right-handed bat off the bench: “I think we’ve had a solid right-handed bat off the bench with (Jerry) Hairston and the backup catchers, it’s just that that big presence, a guy who could change the strategy of the other manager and guy who could leave the ballpark regularly has probably been lacking.”
On if this means the Nationals are still considering contending this season: “We’re in it to win. We like to win every game. This guy gives us an added boost off the bench. It’s a compensation pick for us if we don’t get something done with him longer term and we thought it was a good prudent move in giving up part of our strength and our depth in the minor leagues.”