Braves trade Gomes to Royals
ATLANTA -- Jonny Gomes spent most of this season providing the Braves veteran leadership and a strong clubhouse presence. The highly-respected veteran outfielder will now have an opportunity to bestow those attributes upon a team that is gearing to make a second consecutive run to the World Series.
The Braves announced that they sent Gomes and cash considerations to the Royals in exchange for Minor League shortstop Luis Valenzuela. The deal was announced shortly after Gomes was pulled from Monday night's 4-0 loss to the Marlins and had a chance to exchange dugout hugs with some of his Atlanta teammates.
"It was obviously tough news regarding one of the best guys in the clubhouse," Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller said. "He's one of the best leaders I've been around and one of the best teammates I've ever been around. He's always in a positive mood. He does anything he can to make the vibe better. I'm obviously going to miss him a lot."
This seemed to be a popular sentiment with many associated with the Braves, who signed Gomes to a one-year deal this offseason with the hope he would impact their young players with the same business-like approach that has made him such a beloved teammate throughout his career.
"He came as advertised," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He was a guy that was good in the clubhouse. He's a good teammate. We're going to miss him, but hopefully, he was here long enough that he rubbed some of that off on some of the other guys and they learn something from the way Gomes carried himself day in and day out."
With Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Adonis Garcia all capable of playing left field, Braves were going to have a hard time providing sufficient playing time to Gomes, who primarily played against left-handed starting pitchers this year.
So, now Gomes will have a chance to transition from a Braves team that has lost 35 of its past 47 games to a Royals club that is aiming to reach the World Series for the second straight season.
In other words, Gomes is returning to more familiar territory. The 34-year-old outfielder won a World Series title with the 2013 Red Sox and he has participated in each of the past three postseasons with either Boston or Oakland.
"From the first day I showed up [for Spring Training], I was fully invested in this team with the peaks and with the valleys," Gomes said. "I'll go play a game for Kansas City, just like I played today. I left everything I possibly had between those lines when my number was called."
Though Gomes batted just .221 with a .689 OPS in 228 plate appearances for Atlanta, he tallied five homers and compiled a .404 on-base percentage in 99 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers.
Valenzuela simply adds to the middle infield depth with the Braves' system. The 21-year-old shortstop will conclude this season with Class A Rome. He batted .339 with a .851 OPS in 47 games with Class A Lexington this year.