Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports is reporting that the Washington Nationals are expected to land catcher Yan Gomes in a trade that will send minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson to the Cleveland Indians (hat tip to New York Daily News columnist Bill Madden, who first broke a report from sources that the sides had agreed to a Gomes-centered deal days ago).
Gomes had previously been a target on the Mets’ radar and that of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but will instead head to the nation’s capital, where he will be paid a smidge over $7MM next year with a pair of options that could take him through 2021 with an additional $20MM should he stick around.
The 31-year old Brazil native has struck a respectable .250/.311/.426 with 30 homers and 104 RBI across the last two years behind the plate in Cleveland, playing in 217 games and avoiding a single stint on the disabled list. Since first suiting up behind the plate in 2013, Gomes has combined for 31 defensive runs saved – the seventh-best mark in the majors. His caught-stealing percentage last year of 29% ironically made for a career-low, and his career rate of 35% is the third-best in that time behind Salvador Perez and Yadier Molina.
Gomes’ framing numbers verge below average, as evidenced by an uninspiring leap from -4.1 runs above average in 2017 to 0.6 in 2018. That said, they are a surefire upgrade over former Nats backstop Matt Wieters, who combined for -24 the last two seasons, as well as veteran backup Kurt Suzuki (-34.6), whom the Nationals signed two weeks prior.
In Johnson, Cleveland inherits the Nationals’ seventh-ranked prospect (per MLB Pipeline) with a big-league ETA set for 2019.
In 89 games with Double-A Harrisburg, Johnson hit .267/.321/.410 with six homers and 21 steals. Johnson’s best tool is his arm – which has a 65 rating on the standard 20-28 scale, as his 11 assists last year can confirm. It will be interesting to see where Johnson fits in among the handful of young Cleveland outfield trio of Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin, and Bradley Zimmer.
Update, 7:46 pm:
Rodriguez, 25, made his debut this past year, starting in eight games and making six relief appearances. He combined for a 5.71 ERA while averaging 6.8 K/9 against 6.4 BB/9. He was the organization’s 19th-ranked prospect on MLB Pipeline back in 2015, but has since gone unranked through the last three years.