SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Carlos Gomez ran after balls hit into the outfield and zipped from base to base with the same intensity, his big new contract apparently not affecting his style of play.
Gomez and the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to a four-year, $28.3 million deal on Wednesday, and Gomez played in a spring game hours later.
The 27-year-old center fielder would have been eligible for free agency after this season. He agreed to a one-year, $4.3 million deal in January, and the new contract includes salaries of $7 million in 2014, $8 million in 2015 and $9 million in 2016.
Gomez hit .260 with 19 homers and 37 stolen bases in 137 games in 2012. He was one of only five players in the majors with at least 15 homers and 30 stolen bases, joining teammate Ryan Braun, the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout, Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins.
Gomez was in the starting lineup for the Brewers against the Arizona and went 0 for 2 with a walk.
"I feel really good that I'll be able to stay three more years with the Brewers now that they've given me a new opportunity," Gomez said in Spanish after leaving the game. "It was important for me to sign for three more years because this was going to be my fourth year with the organization that gave me a chance. I know I can have a better year than last year, and that's why I decided to sign for longer."
Brewers president and general manager Doug Melvin praised Gomez in in a statement from the club.
"He has always had the physical skills, and his recent performance has given us the confidence that he will take the next step in becoming one of the top center fielders in the game," Melvin said. "His energy, speed and aggressive style of play is a perfect fit for Ron Roenicke's style of managing.
Skipping the World Baseball Classic with his fellow Dominicans was difficult, but Gomez said one of the reasons he did so was because he wanted to get the contract done.
"If I didn't sign, I was going to have a tough preseason thinking about it," he said. "I was going to be preparing to have a huge season (in a contract year). I didn't think that was the best option for me or my future, to go to the World Baseball Classic. Either way, it was going to be on my mind. If I didn't sign, I was going to be here (in Arizona) to work on having a huge season."
Gomez knows now that he and his family are financially secure.
"It's a great feeling to know that my children, my parents, my brothers, my wife are going to have a good future with everything taken care of," he said. "It will be that way for a very long time."