Friends, I promise that after this week, I’ll take a break from the Brewers for a while. Former or otherwise. Okay, I can’t promise that, but I’ll try. You’ve got to be pretty sick of them by now, right? After all, at the end of July there was Jonathan Lucroy. Last weekend, I reflected on Prince Fielder.
This time: Carlos GA?mez.
I’ve re-hashed this time and again: being a Brewers fan hasn’t given me much to love over the years. So I’ll skip right over that this time. GA?mez, on the other hand, gave me plentya��even if it was just for two seasons. He played in Milwaukee for parts of six, but for two of them he was truly great. He was oh so very fun to watch. Recently, that type of fun and production has become a distant memory.
Long gone has been the sexy-feelin‘, highly productive center-fielder. Long gone is the man who slashed .284/.347/.492 with 47 home runs and 77 stolen bases between 2013 and 2014. GA?mez hasn’t been himselfa��at the plate or defensivelya��since. You can’t tell me that two-year spurt was all he had. Well, you can; I just wouldn’t want to believe you. But for parts of 10 seasons, the bad has outweighed the good.
GA?mez is a career .256/.310/.411 hitter. That’s an OPS of .721. That’s a career wRC+ of 87, which rests below league average. Nagging injuries started piling up last season, and his defense started to suffer. Still, GA?mez will only be 31 this December. On paper, there’s plenty of career left in that man.
The Houston Astros designated him for assignment one day after my birthdaya��and also one day after it was announced that Prince Fielder couldn’t play baseball anymore. It wasn’t the best week for former Brewers. And another reminder that it’s always fun to be a Brewers fan. But where would GA?mez go from there? As it turns out, not far.
Upon his release, GA?mez had no shortage of potential suitors. The Mets, Giants, Cardinals; the list of contenders went on. Then the Texas Rangers came knocking. The club who already had Prince. The club who just recently acquired former Brewers Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress. So they added one more.
They’re also a team experiencing their fair share of injuries this year. Hell, Jurickson Profar has been getting some time in the outfield lately. So when GA?mez does get the call, they’ll stick him in left field. That’s gooda��left field doesn’t require a superstar on defense. But how will he fare on offense? Because for a while now, he’s been well below average.
GA?mez made his way to Houston last season, slashing .242/.288/.383 in 163 plate appearances. Battling injuries and just generally struggling, he hit .210/.272/.322 in 323 plate appearances this year. That’s not just poor for GA?mez, those are career-worst marks. And he knows it. There’s no quick fix for that. At least, there doesn’t seem to be. You’d like to believe it’s just the ‘ol a�?needed a change of scenerya�? argument. It’s not. It can’t be that simple.
I cannot genuinely expect that GoGo will start playing like an All-Star again. And you know what? That’s a little difficult for me. During his time in Milwaukee, GA?mez was exciting. He rubbed opposing fans the wrong way because of how he played. He had fun, he watched his home runs, he flipped his bats. The list of stupid reasons baseball fans got mad at him for went on and on. But through all that, he was also very good. Which made it that much better.
He hasn’t been for some time now, but the beat goes on. He gets to join a first-place team. Again. He gets to join a handful of old friends. And maybe, just maybe, he’ll start having fun again. Then, years down the road, he can retire as a Milwaukee Brewer.
But first, he needs to bring the sexy back. I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s been sorely missed.