Jonny Gomes, two-time World Series champion and 11-year MLB veteran, has agreed to a contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.
Gomes made his MLB debut in September 2003 as a member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2005 after slashing .282/.372/.534 and tallying a 2.5 bWAR. His 21 home runs that season still stand as his career best.
After seeing time in his career with the Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics (twice), Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Kansas City Royals, Gomes will join a Golden Eagles team that featured current New York Yankees’ ace Masahiro Tanaka just two seasons ago.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports was the first to report the news:
Jonny Gomes signing with Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan. One year, $2M guarantee plus $1M in incentives. Story coming shortly.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 3, 2016
Gomes, who has not received much attention in a deep outfield free agent market this season, got tired of waiting around for a call, per Rosenthal.
“I’m not trying to get back at baseball by any means. But I’m not just going to hang around,” said Gomes, 35. He did not rule out the possibility of returning to play baseball in the United States.
Throughout his career, Gomes has not been shy about how much he loves America. After the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series, they were invited to the White House to meet President Obama. While the rest of the team dressed to the nines, Gomes took it one step further, donning a full American flag patterned suit. Legendary.
He was even spotted taking batting practice in…whatever this is during the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament:
We wish Jonny Gomes the best of luck as he writes the next chapter of his baseball career overseas.