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Added January 22nd, 2010 by Chalk

Jonny Gomes Eyes The Cubs, Reunion With Lou Piniella

The Chicago Cubs have an opening for a fourth outfielder, and Jonny Gomes would like the job.  Last season, Gomes hit 20 home runs in about half a season’s worth of plate appearances with the Cincinnati Reds, but he rose to national prominence in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as they made their improbable run to the American League pennant.

With that championship squad, Gomes mainly played the role of enforcer and later cheerleader and celebration expert — notably drinking beer out of a teammate’s athletic supporter.  But back in 2005, current Cubs manager Lou Piniella’s final year as Devil Rays skipper, Gomes had the best year of his career when he belted 21 homers, had a 139 OPS+ and finished 3rd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting (behind Huston Street and Robinson Can-0-for-4).

The Cubs have also been linked to Xavier Nady, Jermaine Dye, Reed Johnson and another former Devil Ray, Rocco Baldelli. However, Gomes makes a pretty good case for why he should get the job:

“Most guys are [seeking multi-year deals]. I think that’s kind of where I stand out with other free agents,… I’m one of the youngest.  … What the Cubs have to offer, I’m totally OK with. They’re asking for a fourth outfielder, and others are looking to start. I’m just looking to get in there. And I think it would be great to get back with Lou. I know how hard he is on young players and expects a lot, but we built a pretty good relationship in Tampa.”

Besides his eloquence, I think Gomes could really thrive in Wrigleyville.  Besides his winning personality, he could lighten things up for the Cubs and provide some power off the bench without any drama about wanting to start.  If he’s given the chance, he seems destined to become a fan favorite.  The only question mark I see is defense, but Gomes might be able to hold his own with some of the older bigger names the Cubs may be considering.  I’d love to see Gomes get a steady big league gig after starting last year in AAA, and the Cubs could certainly do a lot worse.

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One Response to “Jonny Gomes Eyes The Cubs, Reunion With Lou Piniella”

  1. Gomes is the man! Any team will be better for having him.

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