Last night, the Kansas City Royals made a trade to potentially bolster the lineup for a playoff run, acquiring Jonny Gomes from the Atlanta Braves for minor league infielder Luis Valenzuela. Gomes has developed a reputation as an excellent clubhouse presence and someone that can truly hammer lefty pitching, something that the Royals have struggled with at times this season.
Even in a down year, where Gomes has posted a mediocre .223/.327/.368 batting line, he has still been able to hit lefties. This season, Gomes has a .247/.412/.466 batting line with five home runs against lefty pitchers, and has drawn 21 walks in 97 plate appearances. That combination of patience, power, and an ability to actually hit a southpaw, are all areas that the Royals needed help at.
The question is, what does Gomes mean for the Royals moving forward? With Alex Gordon likely to return soon, and a player like Ben Zobrist who could play at either corner outfield position or in the infield, the Royals glut of outfielders is certainly notable.
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What this trade may mean is the end of Alex Rios‘ time as a starter for the Kansas City Royals. With Zobrist likely to head to second to replace Omar Infante, the acquisition of Jonny Gomes would seemingly set the Royals up with a platoon situation in right. While Rios does not have a discernible split against righties or lefties, the Royals may employ a platoon of Jarrod Dyson to pair with the newly acquired Gomes.
Dyson, while a completely different player than Gomes, would be the perfect player to pair up in such a role. A career .266/.330/.364 hitter against righties, Dyson would give the Royals offense a more dynamic, speed based approach while in the lineup, while Gomes would allow the Royals to have more of a power potential. Gomes also allows the Royals to have the flexibility to counteract that tough lefty reliever, as he can come off the bench during the postseason to pinch hit, deepening the playoff roster.
On the surface, the Kansas City Royals may have been able to get by with Alex Rios, Jarrod Dyson or some combination of whoever is the hot bat in right. Now, with the acquisition of Jonny Gomes, the Royals will be able to match up that much better.