Carlos Gomez was due to become a free agent after the 2013 season. With Scott Boras as his agent, you’ll have to excuse anyone who was skeptical about a possible extension.
Gomez will still make $4.3 million this season on the one-year deal he signed previously to avoid arbitration. Under the new deal, he’ll make $7 million next year, and will get a $1 million raise in the following two years, making $8 million in 2015 and topping out at $9 million in 2016.
There’s some risk here that the Brewers are overpaying after seeing Gomez put up what’s been his career year to this point. The .260/.305/.463 line he hit for last year still isn’t great, but his home run (19) and stolen base (37) totals were career-highs. If the Brewers passed on an extension right now and he put up another season like 2012, though, they risked getting priced out on the open market.
Focusing on Gomez’s offensive production — something that those who don’t seem to like the deal are doing — would be a mistake, though. His main contribution has always been and will likely continue to be his defense. For his career to this point, Gomez has been 42 runs above average in Defensive Runs Saved in centerfield, and has a career UZR/150 there of 14.7. Barring a catastrophic, speed-sapping lower body injury, there’s a solid chance Gomez’s defense will be worth the new contract alone. Anything he can provide with the bat will continue to be gravy. If he can keep putting up 15 HR, 35 SB seasons, that’ll be a lot of gravy.
When it comes down to it, the extension shows the Brewers are willing to bet that 2012 was the start of Gomez starting to realize his long-hyped five-tool potential. He’s been in the majors so long, it’s easy to forget he’ll be just 27 this year. The extension keeps him in a Brewers uniform through his age-30 season.
As someone who’s already been traded twice, it sounds like Gomez values the security of a longterm deal:
“I’ve been past a lot of stuff in my career … and now this is going to be my fourth year here [plus] a three-year extension. I’m going to spend seven years of my career on this team, and I feel like I’m going to be a big part for the Brewers for seven years. I feel really excited to continue my progress, continue to work.
Gomez’s hustle and work ethic are a big reason he’s become one of the bigger fan favorites on the team. The Brewers are hoping those traits still shine through, even after getting his first big contract.