NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Scott Boras made it clear what position Carlos Gómez expects to play for the Rangers after the veteran agreed to a one-year, $11.5 million contract on Tuesday night.
"Yes, he is going to play center," Boras, Gomez's agent, said Wednesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings.
Ian Desmond played center field for the Rangers this past season, while Gomez was used at the corner outfield spots after joining the team on Aug. 20. But Desmond agreed to a five-year, $70 million contract with the Rockies, so Gomez now takes over in center field for Texas.
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The Rangers have not officially announced the deal or commented on it, because a physical is pending. They also have a full 40-man roster. An announcement may not happen until next week.
Boras said Gomez turned down multiyear offers from other teams to return to the Rangers for just one year. Boras said Gomez especially connected with Rangers hitting coach Anthony Iapoce and assistant Justin Mashore.
"Carlos went to Texas and really found himself as a hitter," Boras said. "He had a .905 OPS. He really found something with the hitting coach and the staff that allowed him for the first time in his career to be selective at the plate. He felt he wanted to continue in with that group. He actually turned down multiyear offers to bet on himself for that reason."
The Rangers came to the Winter Meetings looking for a center fielder, and general manager Jon Daniels was looking at every possible option through free agency or trade. Multiple players were being discussed before Boras became proactive in the process and arranged a meeting with Gomez and the Rangers on Tuesday night. Manager Jeff Banister was involved in the meeting.
"Banister and Carlos have a very good relationship," Boras said. "It was an eventful meeting. There are many objectives of the Rangers and Carlos that want to go beyond one year. Carlos enjoyed the team and the environment and wants to win. Both those objectives were met."
The Rangers picked up Gomez after he had been released by the Astros. At the time of the release, Gomez was hitting .210 with five home runs, 29 RBIs and a .594 slugging percentage over 85 games.
He played in 33 games for the Rangers and batted .284 with eight home runs, 24 RBIs and a .543 slugging percentage. He was much closer to the level he played at in 2013-14 with the Brewers, when he was a two-time National League All-Star and won an NL Gold Glove Award for his defense in center field.
The Rangers' season ended when they were swept by the Blue Jays in the American League Division Series, but Gomez said afterward he wanted to return to Texas. The feeling was mutual and the deal has been done.
"J.D. was very clear from the onset they wanted Carlos back," Boras said. "We have had communication since the season ended to pursue that. That was something in our mind and Carlos' mind and their minds to have constructive dialogue."
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Gomez will head into 2017 as one of fantasy baseball's biggest boom-or-bust picks. On the positive side, the outfielder hit .284 with 47 home runs and 74 stolen bases from '13-14 and posted a lofty .905 OPS upon joining the Rangers last August. But he has also endured his fair share of struggles in recent years, recording a .221/.277/.342 slash line during a 126-game stretch with the Astros from '15-16. Gomez can be projected for 17 long balls and 20 steals in '17, but he is unlikely to return to peak form without recovering his heyday hard-contact rates (36.5 percent from '13-14; 30.2 percent since '15) or lowering last year's career-high 30 percent strikeout rate.