The Atlanta Braves signed Jonny Gomes as a free agent in the off-season in part to provide veteran leadership and mentor Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons in their roles as team leaders. Gomes has been cited as a positive influence on the locker room and a player whose influence far outweighed his very pedestrian on-field production. That mentorship came to end Monday night, as the Atlanta Braves traded Jonny Gomes from one of the worst teams in baseball to a World Series contender in the Kansas City Royals.
The speculation began after Gomes was removed from the game in the top of the 6th inning of Monday’s game against the Miami Marlins. Gomes was seen in the dugout getting hugs from Atlanta Braves players and collecting his equipment, before heading up the tunnel to the clubhouse.
Jonny Gomes was seen hugging teammates in the #Braves dugout after he came out of the game. No word on a trade as of yet. Stay tuned.
— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 1, 2015
Ken Rosenthal was the first to confirm the transaction:
Gomes to #Royals.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 1, 2015
Jon Heyman later added more details:
gomes goes to royals with cash for a minor-league infielder @Ken_Rosenthal 1st
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) September 1, 2015
While we don’t know yet the amount of money involved in the transaction, it isn’t likely to be much. Gomes has a $3 million dollar salary this year, with about 20% of it remaining this season. The Atlanta Braves will receive young infield prospect Luis Valenzuela from the Kansas City Royals.
Luis Valenzuela is not a high-level prospect, but he has had a productive season thus far this year. The 22-year old has hit .339/.368/.483 with a 141 wRC+ at single-A Lexington in the South Atlantic League. He also had a brief stint early in the year in the rookie Pioneer League, where he hit .486/.472/.600 with a .175 wRC+. Across four minor league seasons, Valenzuela has slashed .291/.330/.410, with 19 doubles, 10 triples, 6 HR, and 16 SB in 514 plate appearances. He has roughly average plate discipline, striking out 81 times (15.8%) with only 28 walks (5.4%). Valenzuela has played second base primarily, with some shortstop as well.
Here are some looks at Valenzuela from this season:
Valenzuela isn’t a highly regarded prospect, but we shouldn’t expect to receive one for a 34-year old platoon player who was hitting .223. Likely, Valenzuela turns out to be a depth piece, and those have some value, whether for the Atlanta Braves or for another club. Gomes’ absence in the clubhouse is likely to be felt; he was highly respected by both players and management. But I don’t think the Braves would make this move if they felt that another player (perhaps Nick Markakis or A.J. Pierzynski) was incapable of taking on that role.
– wRC+ figures provided courtesy of Fangraphs.com