Indians All-Star catcher Yan Gomes is reportedly receiving “significant” trade interest from other teams.
Gomes was on the list of the players that ESPN’s Buster Olney reported about the team being willing to talk trade about during the offseason as the team is reportedly looking to shed some payroll but not necessarily trying to rebuild as they’ll look to make their fourth straight postseason appearance in 2019.
The 31-year-old catcher has been with Cleveland since late 2012 when he was acquired from Toronto along with Mike Aviles for Esmil Rogers, the first significant transaction of the Terry Francona era.
He immediately became one of the best defensive catchers in baseball winning the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and with three seasons in the top five in caught stealing percentage.
He’s also had a good bat with the Tribe hitting at least eleven home runs in five of his six seasons with the club including a career high 21 in 2014 which earned him a Silver Slugger award.
This past season in 112 games, Gomes hit for .266 with 16 home runs and 48 runs batted in. In six seasons with Cleveland he has a .250 batting average with 83 home runs and 295 runs batted in as the team’s primary catcher.
The Indians have Roberto Perez and also have Eric Haase who was part of the September call-ups when the rosters expanded. The team likes Haase who has some power with his bat but only played in nine games with the major league team.
Obviously the Indians are taking calls on just about everyone with the exception of shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jose Ramirez who are “untouchable” as of now.
There has already been trade rumors surrounding pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Yankees but I think that scenario is officially dead with the Yankees acquiring pitcher James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.
Just because players are discussed in trade rumors doesn’t necessarily mean the team is definitely going to move them. Rosenthal reported earlier this month that the Indians set the price high for their players in trade talks and don’t usually come down on that price.
While they may want to shed some payroll off their franchise high $142.8 million dollar payroll in 2018, they still want to compete because the window is still open for a few more seasons. If they’re going to trade some of the players currently on the roster, I believe the plan is to get in return players that are going to help immediately but also down the line for the next several seasons.
One team that could help in that scenario is the defending National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers
Looking at the players he mentioned in this report, they would help the Indians both now and in the future.
Joc Pederson, who hit for .248, 25 home runs and 56 runs batted in and would be a solid addition to the outfield is 26 years old and is under contract through 2020.
Yasiel Puig is only under contract through next season but would be an upgrade to the outfield and would help the Indians stay in contention for 2019. He may be a little hard headed but he’s a solid baseball player who hit 23 home runs, 63 runs batted in and 15 stolen bases last year for the Dodgers.
Alex Verdugo was the Dodgers second-round pick in 2014 out of high school and is currently their top prospect in their farm system. He spent a little time in the majors last season but in Triple-A Oklahoma City, he hit for .329 with ten home runs and 44 RBIs in 91 games (343 at bats).
If the Indians were looking for a catching prospect like Rosenthal suggests, the Dodgers #2 prospect is catcher Keibert Ruiz. In Double-A Tulsa, Ruiz had 12 home runs and 47 RBIs in 101 games (377 at-bats). He still needs work on his defensive game but is only 20 years old and is projected to join the big leagues in 2020.
These rumors could all just be talk to get the fans through the offseason but it’s stuff to definitely pay attention to just in case a deal is on the horizon to be prepared for.