There is probably no wider difference of opinion among Reds fans than about left fielder Jonny Gomes. Heck, even I’m conflicted; I really like the guy and his hustle and everything, but he was one of the worst LFs in the National League last year.

So, what’s the Nation’s collective take on The Mohawked One? Overrated, underrated, properly-rated?

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at

Join the conversation! 27 Comments

  1. Decent bench player, not a starter, probably worth the $1.5M they’re paying him, but I’m not convinced you couldn’t get the same production from a younger, cheaper player.

  2. From 2006 on Gomes has been, cumulatively, exactly replacement level in value. No way he’s worth $1.5 million.

    • From 2006 on Gomes has been, cumulatively, exactly replacement level in value. No way he’s worth $1.5 million.

      Thank you Brien… I’ve seen posts saying, “Well, for the price, it’s no big deal.” I think $1.5 million is too much to pay for what we get, even if it feels like (relative)chump change in the bigger picture. That’s one more million for somebody who might really make a difference.

  3. Overrated by Reds fans. I think the organization is better off parting ways with him. Yes he is a great guy who gives 100% effort, but his skill set is not good enough to be an every day outfielder. He has horrendous defense and no plate discipline to back up his power. Those things also make him a bad choice as a bench player/pinch hitter.

  4. On a good and rich team (or simply an AL team, I suppose), he’s a nice spare part to have and worth paying the 1.5. On this team, he’s too expensive to be a spare part and not good enough to be a starter.

    That said, I do have a strange appreciation for him. He’s just a fun guy to have on your team. But at the end of the day, I wish he weren’t.

  5. It should be pretty easy to trade him if the Reds wanted to. Most teams are looking for more power

  6. @Ethan D: I would tend to agree but no one seemed to want him last off-season either.

    Overall, I think he is worth the money and hope he is in a strict platoon or the 4th outfielder.

  7. Waaaaay too streaky for my tastes. Goes crazy for 3 weeks and disappears for 2 months. Poor outfielder. Bench player only or platoon player vs. LH pitchers – Nothing more. Positive work ethic, good club house guy. If you have an everyday alternative, he’s not needed. If platoon situation, probably worth $1.5 MM

  8. Hey remember Felix Perez? Anyone think he has a shot to make it our of spring training?

  9. The problem with Gomes is simple. He is just to much of a “hustle” guy and fans eat that up. Ask any “joe” fan and i am betting they will love the Reds have Gomes and want to see him on the field 90% of the time. They feel that hustle and team attitude is important to the overall team and warrents him being here. Sad that the thing that matters, his performance numbers are not looked at the same way.

  10. the fact is, clubhouse chemistry is important (just ask bill james), and the reds, by all reports, had a great clubhouse this year. gomes was cited for helping that numerous times.

    now do i think that’s worth giving him a ton of money? no, and the reds haven’t, so i’m fine with that.

    do i think his clubhouse contribution means he should start? also no. i can’t understand why dusty didn’t straight platoon him and nix, they both have strong career splits, it seems like a natural arrangement.

    overall, 1.5 mil for a good bench guy with pop against lefties seems like a good deal. the problem is how dusty uses him.

  11. He’s one of the reasons my wife and I started liking the Reds. Yeah, I’m a brand-spanking-new Reds fan. Gomes plays HARD and brought a fire and toughness that would not have been there had he not been on the team. He isn’t a good fielder and not a great hitter either, but I’ll take him over a guy who hits and fields a little better but is just putting in time with no fire or toughness.

    My sentiments echo al’s above, for the most part. What we seem to lose track of are two things:
    1. The Reds were damn good this past year with these players and…
    2. Switching out players, even if they are perceived upgrades on the field or at the plate, can easily damage the chemistry of the team.

    Do I condone keeping everybody? No way. (So long Harang!) The Reds are a couple (or three) pieces away from competing in the playoffs. Gomes, however, is not a piece I think needs to be replaced.

  12. @al:

    I’m interested in this theory that $1.5 million isn’t a lot of money.

    To put this in context, Marcus Thames made $900k last year, and he’s basically a better version of Gomes.

  13. I believe Gomes is a big part of the change that has taken place with this Reds team over the past 2 years. A lot of guys we had before (note:Griffey, Dunn) seemed too laid back. Sure, that has a place in a high pressure environment, but you couldn’t really tell when the players or the team were doing well. They always acted the same, win or lose, 4-4 or 0-5. With Gomes, you can see how down he gets when he or the team isn’t doing well. And the energy and attitude he shows when they are doing well are great to see. Baseball needs more rah-rah, fist-pump guys like Jonny Gomes. I only hope Dusty has figured out that he isn’t an everyday player.

  14. @jrob45601:

    Honestly, if this is going to come down to an actual argument over whether you’re better off having Adam Dunn or Jonny Gomes on your team, it’s pretty much a hopeless situation.

  15. @Brien Jackson: I’m not going to try arguing for Gomes over Dunn based on ability. But I believe every team needs a cheerleader type player, even if he isn’t a star. Gomes was the guy you could see on tv getting the other players fired up.

  16. @jrob45601:

    Ok, so let’s not split hairs on the value of that, because it’ll just go on forever. Let’s just suppose that it is true, and it does have some value. Is it worth paying 3x Joey Votto’s 2010 salary to a BAD baseball player? Because let’s be clear, Gomes isn’t merely inadequate or someone you can upgrade on, he’s a bad player by major league standards.

  17. @Brien Jackson:
    I agree that Gomes had a statisticly bad season. But he wasnt exactly put in the situation to have a good season. Everyone knows that he is not a good fielder, so I’m not gonna try to evaluate that. But almost everyone knows that he cannot hit right handed pitching consistently. If we only ask him to do what he is capable of doing (hit against lefties) his line of 285/378/479 is better than league average. Against righties, Nix was 289/346/450. Heisey was 321/389/536. So I say its Dusty’s fault for bringing Gomes’ stats down. Excluding injuries, of course.

  18. Maybe they can just pay Gomes some cash to be a cheerleader and all team “dude”… heck, make him a bench coach. But leave the roster spot for someone who won’t butcher LF and see who else they can platoon if they need to.

  19. @jrob45601:

    So, in a best case scenario, he might have some value as a platoon DH, which of course the Reds don’t have as an option. So we’re just coming back around to the point that he’s basically worthless to the Reds.

  20. Did anybody here that Laynce Nix is in free agency?

  21. Jonny Gomes is a decent right handed bat to come off the bench and spot start when the situation works. Used right, he will be fine. You need to start him 130 games or so, probably not going to work out that great overall. It could help if Gomes can get some work to be able to spell Votto at first, as if JG is going to stay in the bigs, at some point he is going to play some first base.

    Could Todd Frazier do the job? Maybe so, but you know what you get with Jonny Gomes. If one of the young outfielders makes a move and starts looking like they need a roster spot, the Reds could probably easily deal JG for a player to be named later like they did with Keppinger at the end of spring training.

    Nix getting hurt around the same time Bruce went down actually kind of forced Gomes and Heisey both into the lineup more than they should have been.

  22. Either way, the big lunk is coming back. Those guys that will run through the wall for better or worse, always get a benefit of the doubt over someone who hasn’t put in the time. That isn’t any different really than many places of work, you bust it and even if you are not the brightest and best, people are going to cut you some slack over someone you don’t know, devil you know over the devil you don’t.

    Beyond that, don’t underestimate that there are fans that like the guy.

  23. @jrob45601: Get the cheerleaders who stand on the dugout in between innings if you want rah rah.

  24. @Dave Lowenthal: that’s just silly. gomes value isn’t that he pumps up the crowd, it’s that he is a team leader. i’m guessing here, but i don’t think cheerleaders on the dugout can handle that role.

    in big league free agent terms, 1.5 mil is not a lot of money. it’s a bad comparison to say it’s 3 times what votto made last year, because votto was pre-arb eligible. veteran free agents rarely sign for less than 1 mil, and i think gomes is worth what they’re paying him.

    i’ll repeat though, he should only play vs. lefties. look at the numbers:

    OPS: .856 v. .709
    wOBA: .372 v. 308
    wRC+: 132 v. 89

    those number show that gomes goes from being a below average hitter vs. righties to being a well above average hitter vs. lefties (one whom you would gladly take below avg. defense in left field to play.)

    or put it this way: in 165 ABs vs. lefties he created 8 runs above average and in 346 ABs vs. righties he created 4 runs below average. 8 runs is close to a win, which is worth about 4 mil on the open market.

    if you only play gomes vs lefties you actually end up getting a bargain in terms of marginal runs above average. and that’s not even counting the value of a clubhouse leader.

  25. You have it exactly right: “I really like the guy . . . but he was one of the worst LFers in the NL last year.”

    I’d rather have someone I like less who produces more (and fields better).

  26. dn4192…hustle is what baseball is about. hustle is what made the game, and we are seeing less and less of it…that is jonny’s strongest attribute. i’d give jonny Bruce’s contract in a heartbeat, for that fact alone. besides, this guy is a beast and who are you to doubt he will have .280 average with 30+hrs…he had over 20 in 09 with very few at bats. Jonny Gomes is the man, and true Red’s know what it is…1.5 is a STEAL. GO GOMES

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at


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