The Texas Rangers and Carlos Gomez have agreed on a one year, $11.5 million contract, according to multiple reports that came out last night.
The 31 year old outfielder was signed by the Rangers in August, 2016, after being released by the Houston Astros, and made a very solid impression on the club during his short time with Texas, putting up a .284/.362/.543 slash line in 130 plate appearances.
Gomez was in a weird position this offseason, as he was considered to be one of the better center fielders in the game when he was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers to the Houston Astros in July, 2015. His time in Houston was a disaster, however, as he put up a 619 OPS with disappointing defense in 486 plate appearances before his release. His strong September with the Rangers helped resuscitate his value, though not to the point he was likely to command a big dollar multi-year deal.
So instead, Gomez returns to Texas, a place he reportedly enjoyed being and wanted to return to, on a one year deal, looking to build on his solid finish in 2016 and prime himself to re-enter the market after 2017.
The Rangers, meanwhile, fill a hole on their 2017 club with a player they like, know and are comfortable with, on a short-term commitment. Gomez also gives the Rangers some flexibility in how they approach the remainder of the offseason — they can put Gomez in center field and pursue a COF/DH/1B type, such as Mike Napoli or Edwin Encarnacion, or they can play him in left field should they go after a premium defender in center, such as Billy Hamilton or Travis Jankowski.
Assuming the deal with Gomez gets done, the Rangers’ payroll commitments for 2017, including estimates on arbitration-eligible guys and your various minimum salary guys, currently check in at around $150 million. The Rangers would seem to have $10-20 million available to spend, depending on how much ownership authorizes payroll to move up.