Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Carlos Gomez decision

The Astros have a very important decision to make over the next few weeks. What to do with Carlos Gomez. The answer seems obvious. Keep him. When you look at his numbers however that might not be the obvious call.

I like Gomez. He's fun to watch. He plays a mean centerfield and he has a proven track record. The problem is that he is having the worst year of his career. His numbers on offense and defense are down this year. He has a 57 wRC+ (100 average) and a fWAR on the negative side of zero. It might seem like he's starting to turn it around. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.

In his last 28 days he's hit for a .562 OPS. It only gets worse from there with a .495 and .464 OPS in the last 14 and seven days respectively. He's posted a .625 OPS in 117 games for the Astros the last two years. What's concerning for Gomez is that his .297 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is only a little below his .314 career average. Gomez should see that regress towards his career average, but it won't help make him league average offensively. The projection systems (ZiPS and Steamer) have him providing the Astros with 88-91 wRC+ the rest of the way.

Gomez seems to be struggling with the strikeout this year more than any other. He has a 30.9% strikeout percentage (K%). That is a career high for him and well above his 23.1% career average. It would seem that Gomez may not be fully healthy. The Mets were the first team to acquire Gomez last year before the trade deadline. Except that they backed out after getting a look at his medicals.

Whatever the reason, Gomez is not producing this season. Which opens the door to him potentially being released by the Astros before the season is out. Again, I like Gomez but he's not helping this team. His offense is down and his defense isn't exactly making up for that lost value. That's not someone I see the Astros adding to the playoff roster.  Not with Yulieski Gurriel on the way.

I don't think a decision on Gomez is imminent. If he continues to play the way he is I can see the Astros releasing Gomez when Gurriel is ready. His contract is up at the end of the year and I don't see the Astros trying to resign him this offseason. Roster wise the Astros need a spot for Gurriel and either he or Bregman will be playing in left field with the other manning the hot corner. If Gomez were to be released, Colby Rasmus can start in center field.

I hope Gomez gets hot and makes the decision a tough one on the Astros. Right now he's just not and the clock is ticking on the Carlos Gomez era in Houston.