Gomes would like to stay with Reds

Gomes would like to stay with Reds

CHICAGO -- Outfielder Jonny Gomes rebooted his career nicely with the Reds this season. But one of many offseason questions that will hover over the team is whether there will be a Gomes 2.0 season in Cincinnati in 2010.

If the Reds offered Gomes salary arbitration this winter, he would be fine with that.

"Sure I'd come back," Gomes said Sunday. "I haven't talked to my agent about it. I'm trying to keep my head down and finish these last 20 games."

Gomes started the season in Triple-A Louisville and was used sparingly when he first reached the Majors. That has made his numbers entering Sunday -- a .276 average with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs -- more remarkable because they came over just 243 at-bats.

"I wanted to get on track and back on the map," Gomes said. "I did have a couple of 20 homer seasons in the big leagues under my belt without a lot of at-bats. The other one where I didn't hit 20, I hit 17. Last year, I didn't have many at-bats.

"It worked out but not exactly ideal. A couple of people had to go down for me to get in there. The opportunity door opened for me, and I stuck my foot in there, and hopefully I turned some non-believers into believers."

Gomes, who made $600,000 in the Majors this season after he signed a Minor League contract to come to Spring Training, would like to get more playing time if he returns to the Reds.

"I think I've earned that opportunity," he said.

This season's numbers are on his side. The right-handed-hitting Gomes, who was knocked for not being as solid vs. righty pitching, has played well vs. right-handers (.255, 14 homers, 31 RBIs) and lefties (.317, five homers, 17 RBIs). He's one of the best clutch guys on the club with a .323 average with runners in scoring position.

"He's worked hard to get where he's back and is probably more appreciative," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He was a guy left off the World Series roster [by the Rays] last year, and he was trying to make a team this year. He's relatively young, and there's a whole lot left in there -- offensively and defensively."

As for Gomes' chances of returning?

"It depends on needs, what's out there and which kids might be ready coming up behind these guys," Baker said.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.