It seems oh-so-silly today, but one year ago the main point of conversation and/or contention surrounding Los Angeles Dodgers slugging prospect Cody Bellinger was actually a giant veteran roadblock by the name of Adrian Gonzalez. I put the qualifier on Gonzalez in quotes for emphasis because that is how ridiculous it feels today, a season after the so-called safe, reliable veteran hit all of three home runs before a back injury shut him down and eventually ran him out of town. Meanwhile, all Bellinger did was bash 39 home runs over 132 games. It could have been more games but, well, Gonzalez had to play, right?
That might be a wrong interpretation, but it’s certainly more realistic than concluding a guy who hit .226/.309/.347 as a 29-year-old limited-range left fielder in Class-A is going to get good enough to even match those (terrible) numbers in the majors.
It’s also more realistic than thinking that Alderson — Marine, lawyer, seminal sabermetric figure, World Series champion GM, influential league office executive, plausible Hall of Fame candidate — wants his legacy to be as a second-tier Bill Veeck.
A right-handed batter, Gomez had a .255 batting average with 17 home runs and 51 RBIs last season.
The Dominican Republic native came to Texas as a free agent in 2016 after being released by the Houston Astros amid a seasonlong slump. He rebounded to hit .284 with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 33 games over the next month as the Rangers won the AL West title. His MLB résumé also includes stints with Minnesota, Milwaukee and the New York Mets. He won a Gold Glove in 2013 while playing center for the Brewers.
An All-Star in 2013 and ’14 with Milwaukee, Gomez has a .257 average with 133 home runs and 504 RBIs in 10 big league seasons.
The move comes a day after Tampa Bay traded Steven Souza Jr. to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three-team deal with the New York Yankees. The Rays have made a series of cost-cutting moves in recent weeks, also trading pitcher Jake Odorizzi and designating Corey Dickerson for assignment.