The Milwaukee Brewers could be on the lookout for catching help this winter. According to reports, Cleveland Indians catcher Yan Gomes is on the trade block.
It’s pretty well documented that the Milwaukee Brewers have struggled to fill the catching void that Jonathan Lucroy left when he was traded back in 2016. Manny Pina has filled in admirably, but the offensive presence isn’t there anymore.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Yan Gomes is drawing significant interest on the trade block.
#Indians drawing significant trade interest in catcher Yan Gomes as well as SPs, sources tell The Athletic. Gomes earning $7M in 2019 with $9M club option for ‘20, $11M opt for ‘21. Rival exec says CLE “scrambling to get young players.” Perez and Haase only other Cs on roster.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2018
Rosenthal doesn’t state any specific teams that have interest in Gomes, but knowing David Stearns, he’s at least placed a phone call or two about the backstop.
Who Is Yan Gomes?
Gomes, 31, has been the starting catcher for the Cleveland Indians for awhile now. Rosenthal describes his contract situation in his tweet. $7 million is guaranteed for next season, and the money increases each of the next two years in club options.
In 2018, Gomes hit .266/.313/.449 with 26 doubles and 16 home runs. This was the best season Gomes has put up since 2014 when he hit .278 with 21 homers and a .785 OPS.
Over his career, Gomes owns a .719 OPS with a 92 OPS+, which puts him as a slightly below average hitter. He does have some pop, swatting double-digit home runs in five of the past six seasons.
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However, Gomes is not known for his bat. It’s his defensive prowess that will get teams excited. In his career, Gomes has thrown out baserunners at a 35% clip, seven points the league average at 28%. In 2017, he caught an astonishing 42% of attempted base-stealers. But in 2018, he only threw out 29% of runners.
Should The Brewers Trade For Yan Gomes?
They should not. Gomes is a strong defender, but he’s a light-hitting catcher. The Milwaukee Brewers already have one of those in Manny Pina. They don’t need two defense-first backstops.
While there is an offensive upgrade possibly to be had with Gomes over Pina, it’s not large enough to warrant the prospect cost it’ll take to acquire him and the money he’s owed. The Brewers won’t pay Gomes $7 million in 2019 to split a catching tandem with Manny Pina. There are cheaper options to be had elsewhere that could provide more value. Look at Erik Kratz for example.
The Indians will want some young players in return. They are in desperate need of outfielders and acquiring Keon Broxton or Domingo Santana could be enticing to them, but they might want more than just one of those players. But how does adding Gomes actually help the Brewers current catching corps? That’s what David Stearns would need to ask himself before making any sort of push to acquire Gomes.
It’s an intriguing option, but is the potential reward Gomes brings worth the risk of losing young players and tying up payroll in a marginal upgrade at best behind the plate? Probably not.
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The Milwaukee Brewers are going to look high and low to upgrade this team. While it’s possible they have had some contact with the Indians about Gomes, it’s unlikely they seriously pursue a deal.