Jonny Gomes refuses to accept ‘seller’ mentality despite dwindling playoff odds
|07.05.14 at 3:27 pm ET|
The outlook of the 2014 season looks grim for the Red Sox.
Entering Saturday’s doubleheader with a 38-47 record, Boston sits eight games behind first-place Toronto in the division standings and only have three more victories than the team with the worst record in baseball – the Diamondbacks.
The prospect of October baseball in Boston looks slim at this point. According to Fangraphs, Boston has just a 7.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, with a minuscule 0.8 percent chance of winning the World Series.
As the Red Sox continue to slide in the standings, the possibility of Boston accepting the role of “seller” and trading away veteran players in order to rebuild for future seasons has become a scenario that could easily become a reality in the coming weeks as the July 31 trade deadline draws closer.
Just don’t tell any of that to Jonny Gomes.
While Boston was only one game ahead of the Rays for last place in the AL East heading into Saturday, Gomes said that he’s not ready to jump ship on the 2014 campaign, adding that the main goal for the club is to just get an opportunity to make it to the postseason.
“I think, where we’re at right now, if you think this team and this organization should sell, therefore to throw in the white towel in 2014, you don’t know much about the history of the game,” Gomes said. “If we were to win the division – maybe not win the division – but one of the Wild Cards, we’re going to make history.
“Plenty of teams have done this – plenty, plenty, plenty. Plenty of teams have won the World Series by winning the Wild Card. It’s not about going in the front door, there’s side doors and back doors too now. There’s not one person in there whose goal has changed of winning the division and winning the World Series. Do we have our work cut out for us? Sure. And the people at the top got their work cut out for them too [with] targets on their back.
“Listen, I’m not going to be a seller. I don’t want this team to be a seller. I think, in any situation, the attitude to have is add versus subtract. … Like I said, from my past places and my past years of experience, I’m scarred to be Positive Pete. Granted, the end goal for everyone is to win the World Series, but just getting in is the first goal.”
Gomes pointed out that two of his previous teams - the 2008 Rays and 2012 Athletics - both overcame daunting odds to earn a spot in the postseason during their respective campaigns, something that the 33-year-old outfielder believes could certainly be the case with this Red Sox squad.
“[In] 2008, the Rays, the team I was on, went to the World Series with a $42 million payroll. [In] 2012, the Oakland A’s, we were in first place for four innings. Four innings of a 162-game season. 14 games back in August – 14. I’m scarred from the possibilities from watching the game.”
With Boston sitting nine games below .500, Gomes acknowledged that the team has played nowhere near its full potential this season. The 2014 team is the first Red Sox team to post a sub-.500 record at the halfway point of the season since the 1996 squad put forth a 37-44 line through 81 games.
“I think our record, where it stands right now, is OK from how we’ve played. I don’t think we’ve played to the capability of what our roster has set to do. With that being said, we’re just going to go out there and try and win as many games as we can.”
Looking past projections and playoff percentages, the basic stats show that the Red Sox have simply just been shockingly mediocre this season.
Boston is 27th in baseball in runs scored (321), 24th in batting average (.243), last in the AL in both slugging percentage (.368) and total bases (1,067) and are tied with the Cubs for the worst stolen-base percentage in MLB (60 percent).
Despite these discouraging marks, Gomes said he has been encouraged by the team’s effort this season- something that he believes will be key to a resurgent second half for the Red Sox.
“You look around the game, 29 other teams, there’s been guys who have been yanked for lack of hustle, there’s been mental errors after mental errors of guys throwing to the wrong bases, overthrowing the cut-off, not being ready for situations, not wanting to play,” Gomes said. “None of those negative characteristics have happened on this team. We’ve got a roster and a staff and a management that respects this game, respects this team and we owe it ourselves, we owe it to the fanbase and everyone around here to keep grinding and keep throwing it out there.”
Rob Bradford contributed to this report.
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