“I’m telling myself I’m not the fourth outfielder; I’m a starting outfielder … I’m the best centerfielder on the team. But Lorenzo is doing a really good job for the last two weeks and it’s not fair for me to come off the DL and take his chance … He is a really good player, but I think I’m still the man on this team.” — Carlos Gomez to Anthony Witrado of the Journal-Sentinel
These comments have caused a bit of a stink today. Most people seem to think they’re utterly ridiculous. Ken Macha wouldn’t say anything other than “that’s interesting.”
Does it seem like a crazy thing to say when you’re hitting .228/.285/.348 playing barely above replacement level this year? Sure it does.
But you know what? I can understand why he said it.
True, I laughed when I first read it. That’s only slightly better than the facepalm I did when he said — twice — recently that all he needs to do is get back to hitting .260 and everything will be good.
But at least you can say he’s not lacking confidence. When you’re having the kind of year Gomez is having, it’d be easy to lose it.
I want the guys on my team to think that they belong in the big leagues, so while I completely reject the idea of Gomez being the best overall centerfielder on this team, I can appreciate him thinking that way. I want Alcides Escobar to think he’s the best shortstop on the team. I want George Kottaras thinking he deserves more starts behind the plate. I want Trevor Hoffman thinking he could still close games as effectively as John Axford.
There’s a very thin line between confidence and arrogance, though, and where a player falls on that spectrum is always closely correlated with how well they’re performing. Ryan Braun is a perennial All-Star, so he’s confident. Carlos Gomez can’t break a .300 OBP, so he’s considered arrogant. That’s understandable. I just don’t think it’s crazy for Gomez to think he’s the best man for the job. So while some may say he just doesn’t get it, I’ll disagree. What’s Gomez supposed to think about himself?