Free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes is the type of blue-collar, veteran player who can play a key role on the field and in the clubhouse. The Atlanta Braves coveted his valuable traits enough to sign Gomes on Thursday, Jan. 22.

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports first reported Gomes’ signing:

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports confirmed Brown’s report, noting that it’s a one-year agreement with an option.

Gomes was referred to as “The Grinder” during his stint with the Boston Red Sox. Despite hitting a key three-run homer in Game 4 of the 2013 World Series to help boost Boston to the Commissioner’s Trophy, he lasted less than two years in Beantown.

As part of a deal at the 2014 MLB trade deadline, Gomes was moved to Oakland along with All-Star pitcher Jon Lester.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports speculated that Gomes could be headed to the Windy City, since Lester signed with the Chicago Cubs this offseason:

Whether that was going to happen or not, such analysis hints at the welcome presence Gomes can bring to Atlanta, which marks his sixth different team ahead of his 12th MLB season.

In terms of wins above replacement, Atlanta isn’t gaining anything more than an overall average player in Gomes. However, intangibles are what should allow the 34-year-old to thrive in 2015 and beyond.

What makes him most valuable from an actual playing standpoint is his production as a fielder. At his primary position, left field, Gomes ranks 11th among active players in range factor at 1.816, per

Being a role player is something Gomes is cut out for. Although he’s the perfect candidate to fill in as part of an outfield platoon, Gomes could be an everyday starter if called upon, depending on what Atlanta decides is the best niche for him.

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