The Indians have made their first major move of the 2018 offseason, and it doesn’t involve one of their stud starters in the teams’ rotation.
While players like Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have been discussed in deals already this offseason, the first hammer to drop on the team came Friday, when they dealt veteran All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals.
In return for Gomes, the Indians got back prospect outfielder Daniel Johnson, and right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is 25 years old, and started eight games for the Nats last season, going 3-3 with a 5.71 ERA. Last season between AA and AAA for Washington, he was a combined 7-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 19 starts, striking out 102 and walking 43.
The 23-year-old Johnson played mostly in AA last season for Washington, hitting .267 with six homers and 31 runs batted in to go along with 21 steals.
Of his starts at the AA level last year, 28 of the 33 of them were in center. Johnson was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 MLB June Amateur Draft from New Mexico State University.
Last season making the All-Star team for the first time in his career, Gomes hit .266 with 16 homers and 48 runs batted in. In his career with the Tribe, coming over from the Blue Jays back in 2103, he hit a career .250, with 83 homers and 295 RBI in 609 games.
Gomes was signed through 2019 with club options for 2020 and 2021. He will make $7 million in 2019, and the club options the next two seasons would have cost the Indians $9 million and $11 million.
In total, the team will shave $27 million off its books with the departure of Gomes.
The catcher position will now belong to Roberto Perez, with likely young Eric Hasse getting a long look at extended playing time in Goodyear, Arizona in spring training starting in February.
Last season Perez in 55 games behind the plate hit .168 with two homers and 19 runs batted in. Perez will make $2.6 million this season, and $3.6 in 2020. The team also has team options for him in 2021 and 2022.
Haase was a 7th round pick of the Indians back in 2011. He was impressive with the Clippers at the AAA level in 2018, hitting .236 (102-for-433) with 20 homers and 71 RBI.
In his time with the Indians he played in just nine games, going 2-for-16 with one run batted in.