Jonny Gomes arrived at Nationals Park early Wednesday and settled into his new locker (Matt Stairs’ old locker) next to his new teammates and talked about his new team.
He discussed his own stat line this season, how he feels about the potential of the Nationals organization, along with whether he’d consider re-signing here in the offseason and his feeling on becoming a six-year free agent this fall.
Here’s some of what Gomes had to say:
On if his role had been discussed at all: “No, I know we just kind of figured out what my number would be. Still got to iron some things out and I’m just willing to do whatever it takes. I told (Nationals manager Davey Johnson) I’m comfortable in both corners, I can run, I’m comfortable with doing everything, so I just left the door open to him and let him know I’m ready when my number’s called and whatever he’s got planned for me I’m all right.”
Gomes, by the way, will wear No. 30.
On if he was surprised about getting traded: “This day and age, you start getting surprised, you’re not paying too much attention. I had some pretty good hints that I was getting moved… But it’s a great opportunity.
It’s a real strong clubhouse in here, this team’s put together pretty strong. This is a solid team here. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
On his numbers this season, which include a .211 batting average but 11 home runs and 31 RBI in just over 200 at-bats: “It’s really weird. I’ve got a very interesting, unique line. If you were to cover up my average, you’d be like, ‘All right, this guys’ doing all right.’ Then you pull the average and you’re like, ‘What happened?’… Just kind of the opportunity. I went into just a platoon role and then I went into just a lefty role and, you know, not bitter about it, but when your role changes three times it’s kind of tough.”
On his view of the Nationals from outside: “I’m biased, not so much to the underdog but as a sleeper team, if you will. I came up with the Rays. In 2007, we broke records we were so bad. In 2008, we went to the World Series. I went over to the Reds and such a baseball-rich city, winning, Big Red Machine, and they hadn’t been to the playoffs in 12 years. In 2009 I got there, in 2010 we won the division and we went to the playoffs, so obviously you can’t do it by yourself, you need from the office down to be on the same page, but I know some similarities are here from past playoff experiences.
On his impending free agency and whether Washington could fit his needs for the long-term: “Absolutely. When you’ve got a GM giving up some of his prospects for you, it opens up your eyes and you don’t want to bum him out by any means. I’m over here to play and prove myself and prove him right.
“If you were to ask me (if I looked forward to being a six-year free agent) when I graduated high school, that I’d have six years in the big leagues, I’d probably say we’re going down different paths. I’m just honored to be able to play this game and the last thing I’m worried about, really, is free agency. I’m just excited I’ve got six years of major league service under my belt. We’ll see where it takes me.”
– Davey Johnson closed the clubhouse to reporters this afternoon to address his team. After making a number of lineup changes today — including replacing four starters with bench players and shaking up the remaining stalwarts into new and different slots — he wanted to be sure he and his team were on the same page.
“I thought we were underachieving and we have been,” Johnson said of his new-look lineup that included Jerry Hairston Jr. leading off and playing left field, Alex Cora batting second and playing center, Laynce Nix in right field and Jesus Flores catching.
“It’s a little harder once you’re in the middle of something, rather then when you see it from conception, you can see how they’re going. You always want them to get the message that I have a good idea of who should be playing and who shouldn’t. What was our best offense, defense, who should be the regulars.
“Getting on the same page with the players is more important than wanting to rest the players, especially since so many of them are young. They don’t know what it’s like to be physically tired and probably don’t even consider being mentally tired.”