“We are happy that Carlos has decided to remain a Brewer for a number of years,” said GM Doug Melvin in a statement. “He has always had the physical skills, and his recent performance has given us the confidence that he will take the next step in becoming one of the top center fielders in the game. His energy, speed and aggressive style of play is a perfect fit for Ron Roenicke's style of managing.”
The 27-year-old Gomez will earn $4.3 million in 2013, and the new deal covers 2014-2016. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports the extension will pay him $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016 for a total of $24 million. Milwaukee is basically buying all of Gomez's peak years without being on the hook for his decline. Pretty great deal in that regard.
Gomez hit .260/.305/.463 (102 OPS+) with 19 homers and 37 stolen bases in 452 plate appearances in 2012, his breakout season. He'd hit .238/.288/.377 with 13 homers and 34 steals in 576 plate appearances during his first two years with the Brewers as a part-time player. The team is clearly banking on the increased power output being for real, so it's worth noting Gomez has seen his isolated power (SLG-AVG) and homers-per-fly ball rate increase steadily over the last three years.
The various defensive metrics rate Gomez anywhere from above-average to elite in center field, which is where a big chunk of his value lies. A similar player in B.J. Upton -- 28 years old, hit .246/.298/.454 (109 OPS+) with 28 homers and 31 steals in 2012 -- signed a five-year deal worth $75 million this past offseason. Although Gomez doesn't have the same kind of track record, it's surprising he signed for only one-third of Upton's guaranteed money so close to free agency.
The Brewers are locked into Ryan Braun through 2020, so their left field/center field combination is in place for another four years. Right fielder Norichika Aoki has a dirt cheap $1.5 million club option for 2014 while former right fielder Corey Hart can be a free agent after the season. Catcher Jonathan Lucroy is the team's only other player under contract through 2015.
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