The main focus of the Cleveland Indians offseason rumors thus far has been on trading (or not trading) their starting pitchers. However, per Buster Olney, they could also be listening on trades for backup catcher Roberto Perez.
Perez, 26, has played a secondary role to catcher Yan Gomes in his two years with the Tribe, but he could have the chops for a starting role given the opportunity. He got his shot at significant playing time last season when Gomes went down with an injury, and he did a solid job filling in offensively and defensively. His slash of .228/.348/.402 mostly comes from his great approach at the plate, which had him walking in 14.6 percent of his at-bats.
The Indians also made several other moves this offseason that could make Perez expendable for the right price. Tony Walters is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster, but he is nowhere near ready for the Major League. However, the Indians did re-sign Adam Moore to a minor league contract and signed veteran free agent catcher Anthony Recker to a minor league deal as well. Neither are great starting options, but Yan Gomes can be a workhorse when not injured, so if the Tribe can get something useful for a backup catcher, they make take the shot.
Another benefit of having an expendable catcher is the weak free agent market for catchers right now. Matt Wieters, who was expected to headline this free agent catching class, accepted his $15.8 qualifying offer from the Baltimore Orioles. And with A.J. Pierzynski returning to the Atlanta Braves that leaves Jarrod Saltalamacchia and… Jeff Mathis? as the only interesting catching options available right now.