Just before Tuesday night's game with the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals announced they acquired OF Jonny Gomes from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for two minor leaguers: OF Bill Rhinehart and LHP Christopher Manno.
Gomes, 30, is hitting .211/.339/.399 this season in 265 plate appearances. He gives the Nats a veteran right-handed bat to add to the stable of left-handed outfielders already on the roster. He wears left-handed pitching out to the tune of .281/.376/.510 in his career. Against lefties, he hits a paltry .226/.308/.429.
Rhinehart is a 26 year old outfielder enjoying a fine campaign for Double-A Harrisburg, hitting .283 with 21 home runs and 59 RBIs in 89 games. Manno, 22, a left-handed reliever, earned 12 saves in 34 appearances for Single-A Hagerstown.
On the surface, this gives the Nats another serviceable veteran player to help this season's team compete for .500. And the prospects they gave up, much like the Gorzelanny deal last winter, aren't high on the list and will most likely not make a big impact -- if any -- at the Major League level.
But Jonny Gomes just isn't the type of player you should trade any assets for, as he has nearly reached non-roster invitee status in his career. If you need an emergency filler, or are going to deplete your roster because of a major trade, that's one thing, and we'll have to wait until the dust settles to see if that's part of the reasoning of this deal.
I will say this though: If the Nats had acquired Gomes during the off-season to platoon with Nix/Bernadina/Ankiel that might have made a lot of sense, since he fairly pounds left-handed hitting. Making this move at the deadline, without knowing any other potential deals coming, smells like a team trying to reach .500 for marketing goals.
But on the surface, it's just giving up young assets for the expiring free agent contract of a platoon outfielder, albeit one that projects at this point to be a Type-B free agent. I guess all we can do is wait for Mike Rizzo's next move to evaluate as a whole and not just in this vacuum.