In some surprising news on Friday afternoon, it was reported that the Washington Nationals acquired catcher Yan Gomes from the Cleveland Indians.
The Washington Nationals seemingly continued their early activity this offseason as it was reported that they are set to acquire Yan Gomes in a trade with the Cleveland Indians. It’s yet another move the team has made to try and bolster the catching situation further.
Bill Madden of New York Daily News first reported the news, while Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports confirmed the deal was expected to be completed too. With $7 million owed to Gomes in 2019 and team options for $9 million and $11 million in 2020 and 2021, it made sense for the cost-cutting Indians to trade him away.
The Brazilian backstop was an American League All-Star in 2018 while slashing .266/.313/.449 with 16 home runs and 48 RBI. He’s also widely renowned as a defensive asset with four Defensive Runs Saved last year while catching 20 of 69 potential base stealers and being a favorite among the pitching staff.
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At first, those numbers don’t look great, but compared to Nats catchers last season combined for .209/.299/.312 slash line with 12 home runs and 58 RBI. Gomes will team up with new addition Kurt Suzuki behind the plate and will form a threatening combination with the bat in the lineup together.
MLB.com reports that the package to acquire Gomes is made of minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson and right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez. Johnson was ranked the 7th best prospect in the Nationals system by MLB.com, but his path to regular major league time is blocked with the Nats outfield stacked.
As a knock-on effect, this likely means that promising young catcher Spencer Kieboom will likely begin the year at Triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies. Kieboom finished the 2018 season strong with a slash line of .333/.429/.500 and the fifth highest fWAR on the team in September.
It also likely means that Pedro Severino will be leaving the organization, given that he is out of options and would currently be fourth on the depth chart. The young backstop hit just .103 from May 19th onwards and his value seemed to crater towards the end of his time in the big leagues.
Yan Gomes is a going to be a significant upgrade behind the plate for the Washington Nationals. The next focus for Mike Rizzo and the team is likely to be directed towards the players throwing the ball to Gomes from the mound.