“I’m in a situation right now where I’m getting packaged up with the best pitcher in the game, heading over to the team with the best record in the game,” Gomes said in a phone interview with Boston sports radio station WEEI. “I’m a little bit excited there, but at the same time, you talk about a soft spot in my heart, soft spot with some of the relationships I’ve made in Boston, and this chapter, for the time being, has come to an end.”
Gomes’ name has been involved in trade speculation this season, his second in Boston, and he’ll return to Oakland, where he played in 2012.
“I definitely didn’t want to go anywhere, and I just can’t fathom a baseball player saying he’d ever want to get out of Boston, to tell you the truth,” Gomes said. “I came here on a whim. I came here when this team finished in last place [in 2012] and I wanted to join this club when it was in last place and we rode a pretty magical wave last year. And this year, things haven’t gone as well as we were hoping.
“At the same time, this is the Boston Red Sox, and being a fan of the game, to be able to toe into that batter’s box where some of the greats have and just to wear that uniform, share relationships and hit in the same BP group as David Ortiz, Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia, with Jim Rice and Luis Tiant walking around and all the greats with the pictures up there, that’s the stuff that I don’t take for granted, by any means.”
Gomes said he spoke with Lester earlier Thursday, and he said the pitcher wasn’t negative about the Red Sox or the trade.
“This guy is as professional as it gets,” Gomes said. “This guy worries about one thing, and that’s every fifth day toeing the rubber and throwing that ball downhill. He’s such a positive guy and he doesn’t have that in his bag of tricks, he doesn’t have that in his characteristics to throw people under the bus, get mad, or not treated the right way.”
Gomes also played with Cespedes in Oakland and knows exactly what the Red Sox are getting in return.
“This game is won and lost on pitching, we all know that, but this guy isn’t going to shy away from putting some points on the board by any means,” Gomes said. “This guy is a heck of an athlete and a heck of a game-changer. The executive of the year, Ben Cherington, I’m sure did his homework on him. I can vouch for him, this guy can hit.”
During his season and a half in Boston, Gomes became a fan favorite and part of the community. Numerous times he’s described the 2013 World Series championship team as a “brotherhood,” and he said leaving Boston has triggered a “whirlwind of emotions.”
“Definitely not angry by any means. I’m not angry at anyone,” he said. “I can honestly say that I came here, I played in Boston for a year and a half and I’ve run out every single ground ball. I never came out of a game for a physical reason. A physical reason never stopped me from playing the game, and I never went on the DL.
“To be able to leave this place, it’s not ideal, but at the same time, I can go back to Game 6 at Fenway and it’ll put a smile on my face. Of course, going to Oakland, where I’m from and born and raised an A’s fan as a kid growing up. In 2012, was able to paint an AL West champs sticker on the wall and now I’m taking the best pitcher in the game and heading over to the best record in the game, so that’s pretty exciting.”
As he concluded his interview on WEEI, Gomes had a message for Red Sox fans.
“I know this year hasn’t gone as we all would’ve liked it, but please, please, everyone, do not forget about that 2013 season, the worst-to-first, the tragedy, the Boston Marathon, everyone rallying around the city, the finish line, the duck boats, I mean everything, and celebrating at home,” he said. “They might be a little down right now in the win/loss column, but do not let that erase any of the memories from last year. I get to wear a ring on my finger and I’m proud to be a Red Sox.”