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Cincinnati, Gomes reach agreement on contract

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes agreed to an $800,000, one-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday, providing the right-handed power hitter the Reds wanted in the outfield.

General manager Walt Jocketty said the 29-year-old Gomes will compete for the job in left field. The contract gives the Reds a $1.75 million option for 2011.

The Reds put right-hander Edinson Volquez on the 60-day disabled list to create room on the roster. Volquez had reconstructive elbow surgery last August and isn’t expected back before midseason.

Gomes appeared in 98 games for the Reds last season, batting .267 with 20 homers and 51 runs batted in. He started 33 games in left field, 33 in right and nine as a designated hitter during interleague play.

The Reds declined to offer him salary arbitration last December, making him a free agent. Gomes had talked to the Reds about a deal over the winter.

“After I met with (manager Dusty Baker) and the coaches after the season, we put together a list of things we wanted to improve on for this season,” Jocketty said. “The last thing on the list we hadn’t checked off was a right-handed power hitter. I definitely think Jonny fills that role. There will definitely be a lot of competition for that spot in the outfield.”

Gomes lives in the Phoenix area, drove to the Reds’ camp and passed a physical on Monday, then signed his deal.

“Walt and Dusty grabbed me and took me in with open arms,” Gomes said. “It was exciting to see the young, core guys mature through the season, and then the other guys Walt brought in. From the outside looking in, it’s a well-put-together team for this year.”

Gomes can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses this year: $50,000 each for 250, 300 and 350 plate appearances; $100,000 each for 400 and 450; and $150,000 got 500. If he’s sent outright to the minor leagues, his salary would be $100,000.

The 2011 option would carry a $50,000 buyout if he has 200 plate appearances this year. The option price would increase to $100,000 if he has 250 plate appearances, $150,000 for 300 and $200,000 for 350. If the option isn’t exercised, Gomes would be given his unconditional release.

If the option is exercised, Gomes could earn $750,000 in performance bonuses in 2011: $50,000 each for 250, 300 and 350 plate appearances; $100,000 each for 400 and 450; and $200,000 each for 500 and 550.