Gomes has Millar-like intangibles
Let’s face it — the Red Sox’ clubhouse has not exactly had that 2003-04 vibe to it the last couple of years. So an important side benefit to the recent signing of Jonny Gomes is that he can loosen up a team during the heat of summer, much like Kevin Millar, Johnny Damon and some others used to do back in the day.
Fittingly, Millar has been ever-present around the proceedings at the Winter Meetings, doing a light-hearted interview with Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Monday.
“There’s something about Jonny, yeah. I saw Millar right there. I was thinking of Millar right there,” said Rays manager Joe Maddon. “Jonny Gomes, he’s a different cat. He really cares. He really cares about the rest of the group. Kind of like what I described with David Price, what he does, the lunacy in the clubhouse, et cetera, which is a very positive way.”
Maddon also thinks Gomes has become a much better hitter than when he managed him in Tampa Bay from 2006-08.
“And furthermore, I think he’s really improved his batting stance and shortness of his swing the last couple of years have been more effective, and I know the kind of hitter that he plays in that ballpark. I know he’s going to ingratiate himself to the fans there. He’s the perfect guy. John is going to fit in really well there. Good for the Red Sox,” Maddon said.
Reds manager Dusty Baker is another former manager of Gomes.
“Jonny’s a great teammate,” said Baker. “I had somebody call me this winter and ask me what does Jonny Gomes bring to the team? He brings a positive attitude. He may not like how he’s used, but he’s never a distraction. He never brings the team down. Jonny Gomes is one of the best guys I’ve ever had on the team. And I talked to Chili Davis this winter, and Chili feels the same way about him. A guy that can help your young players learn how to be professional. He can teach them how, hopefully, which is one of the toughest things to do, teach them how to be an unselfish player, especially in a selfish society, that’s very tough to do. Jonny Gomes is one of the best.”