The Cleveland Indians have made their first big move of the offseason, sending catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals in exchange for relief pitcher Jefry Rodriguez, minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson, and a player to be named later.
Gomes first debuted with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012, but was traded to Cleveland with Mike Aviles in exchange for Esmil Rogers the following offseason. At the plate, Gomes was a Silver Slugger Award winner in 2014 before cratering in 2015 and 2016 while plagued with injuries. He started to turn the corner in 2017 before completing a return to form last season, slashing .266/.313/.449, with 16 home runs and a 101 wRC+ — all his best numbers since 2014.
The Tribe will also miss Gomes’ presence behind home plate, where the Indians’ pitching staff seemed to have developed a rapport with the 31-year-old catcher. The lone exception was Trevor Bauer, who has used Roberto Perez as his personal catcher.
His departure leaves Perez and Eric Haase as the Indians’ top options at catcher.
Gomes was owed a salray of $7 million for next season, with $9 million and $11 million club options in place for 2020 and 2021, respectively. He would have been owed a buyout of $1 million if the Indians were to decline either of those options.
As for what the Indians received in return for Gomes, Rodriguez is a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher who made his MLB debut for the Nationals last season, making eight starts and six relief appearances. He pitched 59 innings for Washington, striking out 39, walking 37, and finishing the season with a 5.71 ERA. If he is headed for the Indians’ bullpen, he’ll fit right in!
Johnson is an outfield prospect for the Nationals who saw his first Double-A action last season. The 23-year-old outfielder slashed .267/.321/.410 for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. According to MLB Pipeline, he was the Nationals’ seventh-ranked prospect.
The Tribe will receive the player to be named later by April 15.