The first-place Cleveland Indians will be without a key starter for a while. The club announced on Monday that catcher Yan Gomes will be out 4-8 weeks with a separated A/C joint.
This is certainly a blow to Cleveland. Prior to his injury, Gomes had been mired in a slump. But even with a poor bat, his contributions to one of baseball’s best pitching rotations can’t be overlooked.
For now, the replacements will be in house. Manager Terry Francona said that Chris Gimenez and Roberto Perez will assume the catching duties in the absence of Gomes.
Francona: Indians will "every-other-day it for a while" with Perez and Gimenez. Perez not ready to shoulder full workload just off DL.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 18, 2016
It remains to be seen how long “for a while” is. With that said, Cleveland is still not in the market for a top-tier catcher.
“While Gomes’ injury might end his season, the Indians’ immediate response was that they were not going to go out and pursue an established catcher such as Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy,” per Paul Hoynes, Cleveland.com. “As of now, they believe Perez is ready to guide one of MLB’s top pitching staffs through the rest of the season and, perhaps, into the postseason.”
Of course, Jonathan Lucroy is a star. As such, the Indians would need to pay a big price to get him. Still, there are plenty of catchers who would be upgrades, even though they’re not as good as Lucroy.
Cleveland would do well to acquire someone like Nick Hundley, Carlos Ruiz, Geovany Soto or even A.J. Pierzynski. If nothing else, those players would provide veteran leadership at a position where it’s so often needed.
If the Indians are bluffing and the plan is to go after a star like Lucroy, they need to hurry up. That trade would need to be done before the Aug. 1 deadline.
If Cleveland is looking for a more modest acquisition, then it has a little more time. Any of the aforementioned players would likely clear waivers in an August deal. By then, the Indians may also have a better sense of when Gomes will return.