Jonny Gomes always has been a bit of a square peg in a round hole. It appears that trend is continuing.
The former journeyman outfielder, who spent two seasons in Boston and won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2013, has been promoted to the Arizona Diamondbacks' outfield and baserunning coordinator, USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday. (He had previously served as the D-backs' Rookie League team hitting coach.)
We know what you're thinking: That Jonny Gomes? The guy who stole exactly one base in Boston and was an average outfielder at best? He's in charge of a professional baseball team's outfield and baserunning?
Um....baserunning???— ChoochCast (@ChoochCast) January 8, 2019
You mean this Jonny Gomes? https://t.co/79LzFP23Ko— Twilight Wannabe (@NGiroday) January 8, 2019
Say Johnny please teach me how to run and steal bases pic.twitter.com/iQtMbTRGiF— chi_soxConnor (@soxconnor) January 8, 2019
Upon closer review, though, Gomes doesn't necessarily deserve to get laughed off the stage.
That's because the 38-year-old actually was a decent baserunner earlier in his career. His 30 steals in six seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays are more than some would expect, and he finished is career with a 14.2 baserunning runs above average, which is FanGraphs' rough baserunning equivalent of Wins Above Replacement.
Even we can't defend Gomes' fielding credentials, however: He sported a career Ultimate Zone Rating of -39.5, which you don't need to be an expert to realize is pretty bad.
Then again, we can see why Arizona's staff would have a soft spot for Gomes: Both general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo were on the Red Sox's staff during that 2013 title run.
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