Gomes, Jocketty on the trade
As if it wasn’t obvious enough from the corresponding roster move that came with the trade of Jonny Gomes to the Nationals, Reds GM Walt Jocketty confirmed that the move was made specifically to get the bat of Yonder Alonso to the big leagues.
“We actually had a couple of clubs that inquired about Jonny’s services but Washington was probably the most persistent,” Jocketty said. “For us, it’s a tough move to make in some ways. Jonny was a big part of our club last year and he’s obviously a guy we all think highly of as a person and as a player. It gives us an opportunity now to bring up a player like Alonso and start looking at some of our younger guys that we feel we need to give an opportunity to.”
The plan appears to use Chris Heisey, Fred Lewis and Alonso in left field. Alonso has played 62 games in the outfield this season and the organization believed he’s shown a lot of improvement since the switch from first base.
“He’s improved a lot,” Jocketty said. “He’ll be able to spell Joey [Votto] from time-to-time at first base and he’ll play some left field. He’ll be a left-handed hitter off the bench. The one thing we do know about Yonder is he can hit. He can flat out hit. That’s what we want to see. That’s what we need.”
Jocketty said this deal wasn’t a chance in trading strategy leading up to the Trade Deadline on Sunday.
“We’re still buying,” he said.
Gomes was sad about leaving but very grateful for the chance to play for the Reds.
“What a great opportunity to play for such a baseball-rich city, a baseball-rich organization. I definitely don’t take any of it for granted. In 2008 at the end of that season, individually, I was kind of left in the weeds. Walt Jocketty and Dusty Baker gave me the opportunity.
“I gave it a great run. I’m bitter about leaving because I really love these guys. I love where this team is at. I love where they’re about to go. As we see right now, it’s a business. On the other token, a team reached out and wanted my services. I take that as a compliment as well.”
Gomes acknowledged his offensive results, namely the .211 batting average, played a part in his being moved. But he was still surprised.
“This is a results driven industry, if you will,” Gomes said. “When the results aren’t there, it might be time to move. Just the average, it really killed me. If you look at everything else, everything is there. The name of the game is on-base, if you can get it 100 points higher than your average, it’s great. I had that. I had 11 homers in 220 at-bats, I think that’s good. 30 RBIs is pretty good. Runs scored were there. The first thing there is average and that’s what everyone looks at. It would have been nice to have an opportunity to turn it around.”