Rays decline to offer contract to Gomes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays decided against offering Jonny Gomes a contract for next season, making the outfielder a free agent Friday.

Gomes batted .182 with eight homers and 21 RBIs in 77 games this year as the Rays won the AL pennant. He was optioned to the Triple-A Durham in August and recalled in September.

Gomes was an 18th-round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2001 draft. The 28-year-old batted .235 with 66 homers and 184 RBIs in six seasons with the club.

Gomes' 21 homers in 2005 was a franchise rookie record before Evan Longoria hit 27 this year.