Cleveland Indians: Grading Yan Gomes’ trade to Nationals

Cleveland Indians trade Yan Gomes (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians trade Yan Gomes (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians swung a trade, sending Yan Gomes to the Nationals in exchange for a minor leaguer. Here’s how the deal grades out.

The Cleveland Indians get a D for their trade of Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals for outfielder Daniel Johnson and reliever Jefry Rodriguez because the major league team is worse off today, than it was yesterday.

However, just like the Cleveland Cavaliers trade of Kyle Korver, don’t fill out this grade in red ink just yet.

The last time anyone checked, the Indians were supposed to be competing for a division title, returning to the playoffs for the fourth straight year in 2019.

With Gomes out, the Indians are not closer to a World Series title though, as the Indians are creating a large hole in their lineup by assumably going with Roberto Perez and Eric Haas  behind the dish.

This is not meant to disparage Johnson. He’s a fine prospect, who picked in the fifth round in 2017, has climbed his way up to seventh in Washington’s prospect rankings.

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But he just finished his first full season of Class AA ball and doesn’t appear ready to help out in the majors immediately.

With that said, the Indians outfield situation in the minors is so bad, that Johnson is probably as close as anyone to helping out in 2019 (excluding the guys already going back and forth such as Bradley Zimmer and Tyler Naquin).

Johnson doesn’t look like much of a power hitter, hitting just six homers in 89 games at Class AA Harrisburg last season. He did hit 22 homers in his first full season of professional ball at the A-level.

But double-A is where pitchers start to distinguish themselves more as “pitchers,” rather than than guys who can get by off natural talent, throwing fastballs by everybody.

Johnson hit .267 (.731) this season at Class AA.

Defensively, his outfield home appears to be in right field, although he can play center as well. His scouting reported highlighted his canon of an arm as reason for keeping him in right.

Rodriguez made it to the majors last season, staring eight gams and appearing in 14. He was 3-3 with a 5.71 ERA.

The 25-year-old right hander has a lifetime 4.17 ERA in seven minor-league seasons. He’s mostly been used as a starter, opening 105 of his 108 career games. Other minor-league totals include 7.69 strikeouts per contest, against 4.08 walks per game.

Gomes was an MLB All-star last season, hitting .266 with 16 homers and 48 RBIs…and his defense was second-to-none. He’s signed for this season 2019and carries club options for 2020 and 2021. He will make $7 million for the upcoming campaign.

Ultimately, the trade of Gomes gives the Indians salary relief. The organization had a record high payroll of $135 million last season, and with raises coming for players eligible for arbitration such as Trevor Bauer and Francisco Lindor, it’s been widely viewed among the reporting media that the organization would pair things back this season.

With prospects, you just never know, but in the present, this looks like a step backward for the Tribe.

Next. Indians trade talk: On Brewers, Dodgers rumors. dark

It’s still early in the hot-stove season and the Indians can certainly rebound with a big trade to bolster its outfield heading into the season, but in real time, the lineup will deeply miss Gomes.