The Royals have added one last piece for their playoff run, acquiring Braves outfielder Jonny Gomes in a trade just before the waiver trade deadline Monday night.
Fox Sports first reported the Royals’ acquisition of Gomes, who was hitting .223 for Atlanta, but with an .878 on-base plus slugging percentage against southpaws.
The Royals also acquired cash from Atlanta in the deal and traded minor-league infielder Luis Valenzuela, 22, who was hitting .339 in 47 games for Class A Lexington in 2015.
Gomes provides depth on the Royals’ bench, and profiles as a masher of left-handed pitchers. The team has used right-handed hitter Paulo Orlando against lefties this season, but has found he actually has had better success against right-handers, with an OPS of .710.
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Gomes is famed for his presence inside a clubhouse. He has appeared on playoff teams in four of the past five seasons, with Cincinnati (2010), Tampa Bay (2012), Boston (2013) and Oakland (2014).
As a member of the World Series champion Red Sox, Gomes became a vocal leader on the club and forged a lasting connection with the community in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. He wore an Army helmet during champagne celebrations and spouted bizarre sayings like, “It’s a boy’s club, men’s leagues. So it’s time to go to work.”
Last season, Gomes’ A’s lost to the Royals 9-8 in the AL Wild Card Game. In the 12th inning, Gomes collided with teammate Sam Fuld in the outfield, leading to Eric Hosmer’s triple. Hosmer scored on Christian Colon’s single, tying the score, and Colon later scored on Sal Perez’s hit, sending the Royals to the Division Series.
The addition of Gomes completes the Royals’ acquisitions, which peaked with trades for starter Johnny Cueto and utility player Ben Zobrist. On Tuesday, teams can expand their rosters from 25 to 40 men, and the Royals are likely to recall several minor-league players and outfielder Alex Gordon, who has been rehabbing a severe groin injury at Class AAA Omaha.