4. OF Carlos Gomez
Opening Day Age: 31
Stats: .231/.298/.384, 13 homers, 18 stolen bases, 453 plate appearances
Skinny: No free agent is more head-scratching than Gomez. He could be a boon or a bust. He batted .210 and struck out 100 times in 85 games for the Houston Astros last year before they finally released him. He then went to the Texas Rangers, hit .284 with a .362 on-base percentage and .543 slugging percentage in 33 games, to breathe life into his free-agent campaign.
If someone pays him like he’s the player that succeeded in Texas down the stretch, then he’s too rich for the Orioles. But if his market grows cold, he’d definitely be worth a flier. One point of caution, even in his best years, he’s a free-swinger who doesn’t get on base much. His career OBP is .312. There also have been some questions about his maturity along the way, but he has plenty of people in the game that will vouch for him. (Fun fact: He was once traded by Minnesota to Milwaukee for J.J. Hardy).
Bottom line: The Orioles may wait to see if other options dry up and if Gomez’s market doesn’t develop. It probably will, and he’ll go elsewhere, but he’s an ideal one-year signing.
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