What Yan Gomes’ Return Means For Tribe

by Gordon Watkin | Posted on Monday, June 1st, 2015
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Yan Gomes

Yan Gomes is not only a bargain, but is amongst the game’s elite behind the dish.

Yan Gomes emerged amongst the game’s elite catchers last season thanks to his offensive prowess and strong throwing arm. Acquired by the Cleveland Indians on November, 2013 along with Mike Aviles from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for reliever Esmil Rogers, Gomes emerged as the leader behind the plate and supplanted Carlos Santana, hitting an impressive .294 with 11 home runs and 34 RBI.

Gomes retained his position going into 2014, and improved upon his production, hitting 21 home runs and driving in 74. More notably is Gomes ability to call games and throw out opposing base runners. Gomes threw out 20 of the 47 base runners attempting to steal, leading many to include Gomes amongst the game’s elite defenders.

Even more exciting for Tribe fans is the team-friendly contract Gomes is signed to, a 6-year deal worth $23 million, well below market value. Comparable talents at the position when evaluating both offense and defensive capability and impact include Yadier Molina (5 years $75 Million), Russell Martin (5 Years $84 Million) and Buster Posey (9 years $164 Million). Not to say Gomes is the best bargain at the position (in my opinion that is Sal Perez who is on a 5 year $7 Million with two single year options), but his contract is for sure amongst the best in terms of value.

Below is a compilation of the 2012/2013 & 2013/2014 seasons’ statistics.

Name Fielding Percentage Runners Thrown Out Homeruns Runs Batted In Batting Average On Base Percentage Slugging Percentage
Molina (238 GP) .997 41/100 19 118 .301 .346 .464
Martin (227 GP) .996 73/185 26 122 .258 .364 .404
Posey (232 GP) .994 52/174 37 161 .302 .368 .470
Gomes (211 GP) .992 51/146 32 112 .286 .329 .477

The graph above does not take into account Silver Sluggers, MVPs or All-Star selections; the purpose is to provide context and relativity between elite catchers on high salaries and Yan Gomes, which is why players such as Jonathon Lucroy and Sal Perez were not included, although certainly they too, are elite.

While Yan Gomes will be a welcomed addition, the Silver Slugger has not had the chance to properly further his entrenchment behind the plate for the Tribe in 2015, due to an MCL sprain suffered earlier this year. Also, Gomes is joining a team that is finding its stride and is finally getting production from its best players. The addition of Gomes to the lineup will provide a dynamic duo with back-up Roberto Perez, who is displaying, like Gomes, power and a strong throwing arm. Additionally Gomes will further progress the surging rotation, that has saw Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer all pitching dominant of late. Prior to the aforementioned dominance, the Tribe had the fifth highest ERA throughout baseball heading into May, which too attests to the irreplaceability of Gomes who was injured during that stretch.

A unique combination of silver slugger-caliber offense and elite defense add a much-needed cog to accompany Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley. These three stars’ increase in production plus carrying on the dominant pitching of late could see the Tribe at the top of the A.L Central by the end of June.

The return of Yan Gomes is equivalent to the Indians acquiring an all-star caliber player without trading anybody from the organization. It allows Terry Francona to add a silver slugger into his lineup, providing protection for Brantley and another bat capable of driving in Kipnis. Behind the dish Francona inserts a gold-glove caliber catcher, who is amongst the games best at stalling the run game, which is increasingly important in the A.L central with teams such as the Kansas City Royals and Chicago White Sox on the schedule frequently. Indians fans have a lot to be optimistic about, and should monitor the Indians closely in coming weeks.

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Gordon Watkin
About the Author

Gordon is a Sport Management graduate from Brock University. He has a background playing professional soccer, but is an avid sports fan particularly of the Cleveland Indians. Follow Gordon on Twitter @GordonWatkin.

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