Indians acquire Mike Aviles, trade Rogers
The Cleveland Indians made their first move of the offseason Saturday after they traded right-handed reliever Esmil Rogers to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for infielder Mike Aviles and catcher/infielder Yan Gomes.
Aviles' stint with the Blue Jays was brief as the right-handed hitter was previously traded to Toronto on Octover 21 from the Boston Red Sox in the deal that sent former Jays Manager John Farrell to Boston.
The 31-year-old Aviles appeared in 136 games as the Red Sox starting shortstop last season and batted .250 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. Aviles will likely be a utility player with the Indians next season, and he will also probably become Asdrubal Cabrera's primary backup at shortstop. Given that he is a right-handed hitter and can play shortstop, Aviles helps to fill two immediate needs of the Major League club. A slew of players struggled in backing up Cabrera at shortstop last season, and Aviles provides an immediate upgrade in that department.
The other player acquired in the trade, Yan Gomes, spent the majority of last season with Triple-A Las Vegas where he hit .328 with 44 runs, 29 doubles, 13 home runs and 59 RBI in 79 games. The right-handed hitter also spent some time with the Blue Jays and became the first Brazilian-born player to reach the Major Leagues. In 43 games with the big league club, Gomes hit .204 with four home runs and 13 RBI.
Like Aviles, Gomes also fills a need because of his versatility and the fact that he is right-handed. Overall, he spent time at catcher, first base, third base, left field and designated hitter last season in the Major Leagues.
The player the Indians moved in the trade, Esmil Rogers, was coming off a breakout 2012 campaign in which he posted a 3.06 ERA in 53 innings of relief work while striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings. Rogers likely became expendable because of the high-impact arms that are currently in the Indians minor league system and close to the Major League level.
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I predict trading Chris Perez won't be far behind. He should be valuable in a weak free agent market for closers. Question is if the Indians target a bat for Perez or a starting pitcher.
This trade a good first step but the Indians have to be very active and aggressive this off-season.
He hit well in the PCL (PCL is easy to hit in.) & had two very good years at KC.
Is he a backup SS, a PH, or has management now changed its philosophy towards the inf, Asdrubal & SS?
RH bat, some power, only 100 games at 3B, and with Kipnis at 2B, I think it's a reasonable assumption that the GM may be re-thinking his former positions on a lot of things.
Cabrera would make a fine LF after adjustment.
Then again, if the Indians don't think they can re-sign him, he may be moved.
As for Jason Donald....he had his chances but was too inconsistent, couldn't stay healthy (not his fault), and just is not a Major League option at shortstop.
Inflated power stats.
Nonetheless, this move may mean more time at 1B & DH for Carlos Santana and that is good, and it may mean Asdrubal Cabrera gets moved to LF or to another team.
I favor LF.
Gomes is an intriguing depth option, ala Russ Canzler. If he can fill a spot on the bench at some point later in the year, maybe even as the backup catcher, then great.
Aviles is a quality infielder who's started quite often and has been quite useful during his career. As for a complete package, he's instantly an upgrade over either Brent Lillibridge and Jack Hannahan (both guys I like mind you) as well as Jason Donald to this point.
I hope this is only the start of a creative and fun offseason from our front office. Aviles is a good addition to the infield and helps balance out a bit of the left handed hitting. He's not a world beater, but he's a good supplement to the roster as its constructed.