Why is Jonny Gomes still playing nearly everyday? I loved the energy and excitement he brought to the team last year and at the beginning of this year, but right now, he's not even a shell of the player we saw then. I think he can still be a very effective player when he's healthy, but his shoulder injury is clearly affecting his swing. Jonny has gone on the record saying that is does not bother him at all while swinging, only while throwing. While it might be the case that his shoulder doesn't hurt while swinging, something has changed. You don't go from putting up almost a 1.200 OPS month, then three months latter putting up back to back sub .500 OPS months without something being wrong. Here are his month-by-month splits:
Now some have suggested that it's just the league catching up to him. Advanced scouts have found a hole in his swing and pitchers are just exploiting it to no end. While it might be the case that scouts have found a hole in his swing, that still doesn't explain his complete inability to hit anything. Pitchers are not machines. They miss their spots, they hang pitches, even if scouts found a gapping hole in his swing, when healthy, he still has the power to make pitchers pay when they make mistakes. Right now, he couldn't make my Grandma pay for a mistake. Now, he clearly played over his head the first month of the season, but he proved last year that he's a good hitter, and good hitters don't go into 3 month long slumps where they can't hit anything. It seems clear that he's not coming out of his slump anytime soon.
We know that his shoulder needs surgery, and at this point, he's hurting the team by playing everyday. The Rays need to just shut him down for the season, and allow him an extra month and a half of rehab to get ready for next year. Jonny Gomes is going to be the DH on this team for at least one more year. I want to see a healthy Jonny, the guy who infused life into the clubhouse last year, the guy who could change a game at any point with one swing of the bat. To do that, he's got to be healthy, so shut him down and give him the opportunity to get fully healthy for next year.