After resurrecting his career with the Texas Rangers last season, outfielder Carlos Gomez agreed to terms to stay with the club on Dec. 6.
After the Houston Astros acquired Gomez in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2015 trade deadline, the Dominican Republic native spent the first half of 2016 with the 'Stros.
Gomez struggled to the tune of a .210 batting average with five home runs, 29 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 295 at-bats, however, which prompted Houston to designate him for assignment.
The two-time All-Star then signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, and he was called up shortly thereafter to aid Texas' short-handed outfield.
Gomez was excellent in 33 regular-season games with the Rangers, as he hit .284 with eight homers, 24 RBI and five steals. He also started for the team during the American League Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, hitting .154 with one RBI and one stolen base in three contests.
Following the Rangers' elimination, Gomez spoke glowingly about his time with the team and expressed a desire to re-sign in free agency, according to Josh Clark of CBS DFW:
This month and a half changed my career completely. I can't wait to get home and continue to make this approach to next year. Of course I want to come back. If I had (this much) fun, that I enjoyed it so much for like a month and a half ... I can't imagine it for 180 something days. I put this in God's hands ... and they know that I love it here. I'm very loyal, it's not always about money. I have money. It's about enjoying the job that I love.
In 2015 and most of 2016, Gomez looked nothing like the player who emerged as one of the best all-around outfielders in baseball with the Brewers in 2013 and 2014.
Gomez put up big numbers in both of those campaigns, particularly in 2013 when he hit .284 with 24 home runs, 73 RBI and 40 stolen bases, all of which were career highs. He also won the Gold Glove and finished a solid ninth in National League MVP voting.
In stints with the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Brewers, Astros and Rangers, Gomez has shown flashes of brilliance and five-tool potential.
He has struggled to parlay that into consistent production for much of his career, but he appeared to regain his stride late last season.
The 31-year-old can be a game-changer when he is locked in, and that was apparent down the stretch in 2016.
Gomez and the Rangers appeared to be a match made in heaven last season, and there was mutual interest from both sides to see how much the partnership can potentially accomplish together over the course of an entire year in 2017.
The 2016 campaign was a tale of two seasons for Gomez, but if he is able to channel what made him successful late in the year, he could prove to be one of the best value signings of the offseason.
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