Rangers sign veteran outfielder Gomez

Former All-Star inks Minor League contract

Rangers sign veteran outfielder Gomez

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rangers, looking for outfield depth with the loss of Shin-Soo Choo for the season, signed outfielder Carlos Gomez to a Minor League contract on Saturday.

Gomez is expected to join Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday, play in a few games and then be called up to the big leagues. He was released by the Astros earlier this week.

"We want to look at him before too much time passes," general manager Jon Daniels said. "The way we look at it, he is an extremely talented player who is having a down year. He's 30 years old and in his physical prime. Obviously we are taking a chance he's better than his most recent performance."

Daniels admitted this was a reaction to Choo, who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a fractured left forearm.

"If Choo was in there every day, there would not be the same opportunity," Daniels said.

The Rangers have six outfielders in Ian Desmond, Jurickson Profar, Ryan Rua, Delino DeShields, Nomar Mazara and Drew Stubbs. Desmond, the club's center fielder, is the only one playing every day.

Profar is a switch-hitter who is playing left field against right-handed pitching. Mazara is a left-handed hitter who has begun playing irregularly against left-handed pitching. Rua and DeShields are right-handed hitters for use against left-handed pitching, but Gomez could replace one of them in the rotation. Stubbs is mainly used for pinch-running and defense.

Gomez had a tough season with the Astros, hitting .210 with five home runs, 29 RBIs, a .272 on-base percentage and a .322 slugging percentage in 85 games. He struck out 100 times in 295 at-bats and also missed two weeks with a bruised left rib cage.

"Sometimes guys change scenery, cultures, roles or clubs and play a lot better," Daniels said. "The playing ability is there. We are intrigued by his talent."

Gomez is a 10-year veteran who early in his career was considered one of the top young outfield prospects in the game. He was originally signed by the Mets but was one of the key players included in a 2008 trade to the Twins for Cy Young-winning pitcher Johan Santana.

Injuries kept Gomez from fulfilling expectations until finally enjoying two breakthrough seasons with the Brewers in 2013-14. He hit .284 with 24 home runs, 73 RBIs and 40 stolen bases for the Brewers in 2013 while being named to the National League All-Star team and winning a Gold Glove. He followed that up by hitting .284 with 23 home runs, 73 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 2014, being named an All-Star for a second straight year.

The Brewers traded him to the Astros on July 30, 2015. The Astros were looking for veteran help during the stretch run and Gomez's home run in the American League Wild Card Game helped them to a 3-0 victory.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.