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Indians reportedly close to sending Yan Gomes to Nationals

The two sides are either approaching a deal or basically waiting for the ink to dry, depending on which Twitter account you listen to

Cleveland Indians v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Indians are “in serious discussions” for a deal that would send catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. No word on what the Indians would potentially get back, but some guy named Dan claims it will not be for any of the Nationals’ top prospect.

Gomes debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, but came to Cleveland along with Mike Aviles in exchange for Esmil Rogers following the 2012 season. A Silver Slugger Award winner in 2014, Gomes once had a pretty promising bat behind the plate for the Tribe. After an abysmal 2015 and 2016 seasons — both of which were cut short by injuries — he rebounded ever-so-slightly in 2017 with an 85 wRC+ season in which he slashed .232/.309/.399 with 14 home runs. Last season was the closest we’ve seen to vintage Gomes since that Silver Slugger season. He slashed .266/.313/.449 for the 2018 Indians, with 16 home runs and a 101 wRC+ — all his best numbers since 2014.

Offense isn’t what has kept Gomes ahead of the likes of Roberto Perez and former Indians top prospect Francisco Mejia, though. It wasn’t what had him so rooted in the starting position that Jonathan Lucroy didn’t think he could beat him out when he was actually good in 2016. No, it’s that shiny, don’t-run-on-Yan defense of his, and his ability to command a starting rotation. With the exception of Trevor Bauer, who uses Roberto Perez as his personal catcher, the staff seems enamored with the veteran Gomes, and his ability to snag runners has saved them countless times. Gomes was fourth in the majors with 20 potential runners stealing bases against him — and only 69 even attempted it in 316 innings of work.

Based on reports, his time in Cleveland may be over as he takes the $8 million he’ll be owed over the next two years ($7 million of that in 2019) to the Nationals, who also just signed Kurt Suzuiki to shore up behind the plate.

For the Indians, this trade would hopefully signal the beginning of the Eric Haase era behind the plate, and not Roberto Perez’s ascension to a full-time starter. Perez has all but plateaued at this point but Haase’s potential as a power-hitting catcher is massive. He hit 26 home runs in Double-A in 2017 and 20 more for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers last season. You can read a level-headed preview of Haase over at Minor League Ball, which is a great website that I’m glad isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.