Things didn’t work out too well in Houston for Texas Rangers outfielder Gomez. But a move just a few hours north on I-45 seemed to make all the difference in the world.
Fans had mixed feelings about the Texas Rangers signing outfielder Carlos Gomez late in 2016. He’d seen a drop in performance after his trade to Houston and rumors surrounded him about his attitude and work ethic there. Yet, he endeared himself fairly quickly to Rangers fans and Rangers players after his arrival and showed evidence that maybe he wasn’t actually “the problem.”
Looking back at 2016
Offensively, there is no greater way to make an immediate impact on a new team than to hit a home run in your first at bat. That’s exactly what Gomez did when he wore a Texas Rangers uniform for the first time. The fact that he did it on the first strike (it came on a 1-0 count) makes it even more impressive. While he did go 0-18 in the at bats following the home run, he more than made up for it afterward.
On August 30, he woke up from his slump with a two-for-three game against Seattle with a 2nd inning RBI that proved crucial in an 8-7 victory. The following night, he clubbed a fourth inning grand slam off “King” Felix Hernandez to fling the flood gates open in a 14-1 route. Just like that, the 18 at bat skid was a thing of the past and Gomez was on a roll.
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He took that momentum all the way through the end of the regular season with a September/October slash of .319/.404/.582. He also hit six home runs in the season’s final month and drove in 16 runs. To be honest, he made all the complaints that came out of Houston look just plain ridiculous.
Gomez made an impression on the Rangers clubhouse. Manager Jeff Banister and third baseman/clubhouse leader Adrian Beltre spoke glowingly about Gomez at the end of last season. But they also made an impression on him.
That’s why it’s no surprise that he re-upped with the Texas Rangers with a one-year deal worth $11.5 million. He likes the Rangers and they like him. Now to see what he does with the opportunity.
"“I thought this year was my year, and I think, in my heart, that this is the best year that I’ve had in my career so far. And numbers wise, probably not. But they changed me and made me a better player, better person and a better human being.”— Carlos Gomez, speaking to “The Ben & Skin Show” on D/FW radio station 105.3 FM after the playoffs"
Looking ahead to 2017
Gomez likes to hit at Globe Life Park and he’ll continue that trend this season. He’ll return to his all-star form and surpass 20 home runs with a slash line of roughly .280/.360/.520. With about 30 doubles, he’ll become one of the team’s leaders in extra base hits.
Carlos Gomez has something GRAND for you. #RangersST
Posted by Texas Rangers on Monday, March 13, 2017
His defensive game will also improve and return to the form that made him one of baseball’s best center fielders before the trade to the Astros. Gomez will start close to 153 games in center field and anchor an outfield that needs a rangy fielder with a great glove and a solid arm.
By the end of the 2017 regular season, Gomez will become a fan favorite. He has a chance to resurrect his career and seek a huge payday this next offseason. If all goes according to plan, he’ll do just that and remain a Texas Ranger too boot.