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.