Indians sign catcher Yan Gomes to six-year, $23M extension

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – The Cleveland Indians have signed Yan Gomes to a six-year extension worth $23 million, pending completion of a physical.

It was a complete turnaround for Gomes in the past year. Last season, he was headed to the Minor Leagues for Opening Day before he seized the starting catching job from veteran Carlos Santana.

According to sources, the deal also includes two club options. Prior to the club options, Gomes’ contract would cover two pre-arbitration seasons, three arbitration years and one season of free-agent eligibility.

“He’s become a force,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Gomes during Spring Training.

The Indians acquired Gomes, along with utility man Mike Aviles, from the Blue Jays as part of the Nov. 3, 2012, trade for pitcher Esmil Rogers.

Gomes opened last season with Triple-A Columbus, but he quickly ascended to Cleveland and earned the starting role behind the plate during the Tribe’s second-half push to the postseason.

In 88 games last season, the 26-year-old Gomes — the first Brazilian-born player to reach the big leagues — hit .294 with 11 home runs, 18 doubles and 38 RBIs. Among Major League catchers with at least 275 plate appearances, Gomes ranked third in OPS (.837), trailing only Joe Mauer and Jason Castro.

Among AL catchers with at least 700 innings behind the plate, Gomes ranked first with a 40.8 (20-for-49) caught-stealing percentage, according to Baseball Reference. Cleveland’s pitching staff posted a 3.56 ERA in the 710 innings he caught, and he ended the season with just three errors and a .996 fielding percentage.

Gomes’ rise last season pushed Santana into the role of backup catcher and into more games as a designated hitter. Over the winter, Santana began a transition to third base, where he is expected to play on Opening Day against the A’s on Monday.

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