|By the Brewers. Three years $28.3MM|
After coming to the Milwaukee Brewers in the trade that sent J.J. Hardy to the Minnesota Twins, Carlos Gomez endured two seasons in a Brewer's uniform that saw his potential untapped. He was identified by his flailing swing, low OBP and apparent insistence on swinging at everything in sight. Then 2012 happened, and Gomez quietly put everything together. Carlos Gomez was platooning in center field with Nyjer Morgan at the start of the 2012 season, but after Morgan's productivity fell off a cliff, the emerging Gomez was given essentially a full-time position and center. Carlos Gomez awarded the Brewers for their faith by doubling many of his offense of numbers. While he still has a way to go in terms of plate discipline, the still young Gomez finding his stroke at age 27 gives the Brewers a lot to be confident about.
There is obviously an implicit risk in extending a player after that player only puts up one year of notable production, but $28.3MM dollars could prove to be a bargain if the toolsy Carlos Gomez continues to improve. The faith that he will in fact improve over the course of his deal is why the Brewers scrapped their initial one-year $4MM deal, opting instead to buy out three of his free agent years that will cover him over the ages that many players reach their peak. B.J. Upton and Michael Bourn both signed enormous contracts this offseason that would have been unaffordable by Brewers' standards. In terms of offense of productivity both of those players were about on par with what Gomez did in 2012.
Assuming Carlos Gomez can stay relatively healthy and avoid injuring himself on wild plays, this deal will be considered a very team-friendly. It would help Gomez' next contract out substantially if you could learn how to get on base and utilize speed, but his power has become an attribute that can no longer be ignored. If Carlos Gomez can maintain the arc of his productivity, it will not be a surprise whatsoever to see him as an All Star center fielder. Using the logic that he can only improve over the course of his peak years, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 30/30 and Gold Glove season at least once over the course of this contract.
Dark Horse: Carlos Gomez