KANSAS CITY— The Royals on Monday night acquired right-handed hitter Jonny Gomes and cash considerations from the Braves in exchange for Minor League shortstop Luis Valenzuela, a move that could bolster Kansas City’s offensive effectiveness against left-handed pitching.
Gomes, 34, immediately was added to the 40-man roster and is eligible for the postseason roster.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he believes Gomes will add to the clubhouse mix.
“He’s a proven winner,” Moore said. “He will give [manager] Ned [Yost] more options. And it adds to our depth as we move forward.”
It is unclear what role Gomes will have with the Royals, who already have a glut of outfielders and are expecting rehabbing left fielder Alex Gordon back any day, perhaps as early as Tuesday when teams can expand their rosters with September callups.
But Moore added that Gomes could spell Gordon in left in September and might work into the postseason mix.
“The complexion of our roster is constantly changing,” Moore said. “If we’re fortunate enough to make it to the playoffs, [Gomes] will be in consideration.”
Gomes traditionally has been superb against left-handed pitching with a slash line of .275/.379/.484 over his career.
But Gomes is average-to-below-average defensively -- Moore has built this team on speed and defense -- and Gomes is unlikely to take at-bats away from designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
While the Royals seemingly have struggled on the surface against left-handers in recent years, they have a .702 OPS against left-handers this year compared to .744 against right-handers.
And the Royals also are not known to be an active pinch-hitting team -- they have a league-low 24 pinch-hit at-bats this season.
The move could be a precaution against the groin injury to Gordon, who has been rehabbing at Triple-A Omaha. Or it could be a precaution against the recent absence of right fielder Alex Rios, who has missed the last two games because of an undisclosed illness.
But the Royals have depth in the outfield with Jarrod Dyson, Paulo Orlando and Ben Zobrist. And they are expected to call up speedster Terrance Gore for September and as a possible postseason roster fit.
It could be that Gomes was brought aboard as another positive clubhouse influence the same way Moore acquired veteran Raul Ibanez last season. Ibanez was a strong clubhouse presence even though he wasn’t on the postseason roster.
Gomes’ production has fallen off dramatically in the past two seasons, splitting time between Boston, Oakland and Atlanta. In 82 games for the Braves this season, he hit .223 with just seven homers and 22 RBIs.
Valenzuela, 22, was signed by the Red Sox in 2012. He was released that same year and signed by the Royals, who released him in 2013 and re-signed him weeks later.
The Royals have 39 players on their 40-man roster. But they can move left-hander Jason Vargas (Tommy John surgery) from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to create more room for September callups.