Here we go. Jonny Gomes has said something controversial once again.
Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox lost their star center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury to the arch-rival New York Yankees. Ellsbury, who had been a member of the Red Sox since the latter stages of the 2007 season and has helped them to two World Series Championships during his tenure in Boston, has a career batting average of .297 and has stolen 50-plus bases three times including 70 in 2009.
The Red Sox countered by signing 3-time All-Star Grady Sizemore to a one-year contract, hoping that he can do the job of replacing Ellsbury in the leadoff spot and in center field. Sizemore has been one of the feel-good stories of this Spring Training as he beat out youngster Jackie Bradley Jr. for the center field job by hitting .306 and covering a lot of ground in outfield.
The risk of Sizemore is that he hasn’t played a regular season game in the Major Leagues since 2011. That doesn’t seem to matter to Jonny Gomes, who is quick to compare him to the teams last center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury.
“It’s borderline unfair that we have the option to save money and replace a 30-30 guy with a 30-30 guy,” Gomes remarked. The quote goes on. “Whoa, you’re not supposed to do that. You’re not supposed to lose your leadoff center fielder and get one back just as good. Nothing on Ells, but …”
Gomes may be getting ahead of himself. It’s true that Sizemore, if healthy, can be an All-Star player, but nobody knows if he can remain on the field for a sufficient amount of time.
Also, can he continue to play at a high level late in the season after missing two years with injuries?
Gomes may just be over-excited, but it must be a bit of a slap-in-the-face for Ellsbury.