Jonny Gomes is a baseball player, let there be no doubt. Just because he offers little in the way of defensive value and shouldn’t really be allowed to face right-handed pitching doesn’t mean he is useless. Quite the contrary. The DH platoon of Jonny Gomes and Seth Smith worked wonders for the Oakland A’s. Gomes mashes lefties and always has – making him a great match for the Boston Red Sox.

Gomes posted a .376 wOBA over 333 plate appearances for the A’s, knocking 18 home runs and drawing walks at a 13.3% rate. Every bit a butcher in the outfield, Gomes gives the Red Sox a good bat in a part-time role. The continuing presence of David Ortiz ensures Gomes will take his lumps in the outfield, though left field at Fenway Park is a reasonable enough holding place for mediocre fielders who make their bones with the bat.

Does Gomes give the Red Sox anything they didn’t get from David Cody Ross last season? Not really. He is a worse fielder and equally lopsided hitter – any potential deal with Gomes points to a much larger asking price from Ross and his representation, a player Boston appeared interested in returning to the fold.

Signing a player fresh off a career season, his first above-average year since 2009, seems like a risk unless the Red Sox can make use of Gomes’ specific skills (hitting lefties) while minimizing situations which might exposure his shortcomings – the first of many tall tasks for new Sox manager John Farrell.