The Washington Nationals traded with the Cleveland Indians for right-handed hitting catcher Yan Gomes over the weekend, looking to regain an offensive contribution from behind the plate that they have missed for the last two seasons.
Gomes, a 2018 American League All-Star, is coming off a bounce-back season in which he returned to previous form after a hard 2017 season. He will earn $7 million in 2019.
The Nationals sent outfielder Daniel Johnson – Washington’s No. 7 prospect as ranked by MLB Pipeline – right-handed pitcher Jefry Rodriguez and a player to be named later to Cleveland in exchange for Gomes, who batted .266 with 16 HR and 48 RBI.
By contrast, Matt Wieters and Pedro Severino, who shared catching duties last season, combined for 10 HR and 45 RBI in 146 games, with Wieters spending considerable time on the disabled list. Prospect Spencer Kieboom caught the remaining games for Washington.
Gomes’ arrival is also a defensive upgrade in the District of Columbia. He threw out 32.8 percent of would-be base stealers over the last two seasons, good for seventh place across the league.
Something that cannot be understated is the stability that Gomes’ signing provides, who came to Washington with team options for 2020 and 2021, worth 9 million and 11 million dollars, respectively. A high-quality catcher at that price point gives the Nationals the flexibility to spend money upgrading at other positions of need.
Together with the Nats’ signing of Kurt Suzuki last week, the team has certainly addressed what was potentially their weakest position on the roster at the end of the 2018 season.
We will have to keep an eye on what else General Manager Mike Rizzo might have in store during this offseason.
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