Yan Gomes stands as the reason that Jonathan Lucroy didn't get to play in the World Series. Gomes suffered a sinkhole of a season in which he only played in a little over one-third of the Indians' games and his bat failed to show up for most of them. Meanwhile, his extended contract and high likelihood of catching significant innings for Cleveland in 2017 was reportedly part of Lucroy's motivation to nix a deadline deal to the Tribe, given Lucroy's own free agent status at the end of the upcoming season. Gomes' injury is concerning on multiple levels going forward, as shoulder ailments tend to sap power at the plate and throwing strength behind it. His metrics have been trending in the wrong direction since his first year in Cleveland, with four consecutive seasons of declining batting averages, on-base and slugging percentages, and the prospect of a compromised shoulder contributing to that decline should raise the caution flag on draft day.
Gomes is just 3-for-12 this spring with one walk and three strikeouts over six Cactus League games. Gomes has started behind the plate for five of his six spring contests so far, and although he's been subdued at the dish, the veteran catcher has looked good defensively, including throwing out two of three attempted basestealers. Catchers spend most of camp on the back fields handling bullpen sessions, so the counting stats aren't expected to be noteworthy. Throughout his career, Gomes has shown the ability to get better with his bat as the campaigns grow old. Over his five MLB seasons, Gomes has slashed .275/.320/.465 post All-Star break, which is significantly better than the .224/.261/.390 mark he's compiled in the first half.
Gomes will remain the starting catcher, ahead of Roberto Perez, for the in 2017., MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports. In 2014, Gomes hit 21 homers with a .785 OPS and won the AL Silver Slugger award for backstops. He declined in 2015 and then the bottom fell out last season. Gomes hit .167/.201/.327 and his postseason playing time was usurped by Roberto Perez. After suffering a separated right shoulder that cost him more than two months in 2016, the 29-year-old says he feels 100 percent healthy entering this season. Cleveland has invested a lot in Gomes, who is signed through 2019 with team options for the '20 and '21 seasons, so they'll give the catcher plenty of leeway to find him stride in the upcoming campaign.
Gomes went 1-for-2 with a two-run homer in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Royals. After missing more than two months with a shoulder and knee injury, Gomes drilled a go-ahead homer in his first at-bat since July 17. It was one of the few highlights in an otherwise disappointing season for Gomes, who batted a lowly .167/.201/.327 with 69 strikeouts and just nine walks in 264 plate appearances. The 29-year-old's numbers have been trending down since 2013, making him a dicey fantasy option as he approaches his thirties.
Indians manager Terry Francona said Sunday that Gomes could be included on the club's ALDS roster, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports. Gomes was activated from the DL on Friday after a lengthy absence due to a separated shoulder and fractured wrist, but he's still not fully comfortable hitting just yet. The Indians included Gomes in the lineup behind the plate for their regular season finale Sunday against the Royals, so that may serve as a testing ground to see what Gomes is capable of doing in the batter's box. If Gomes is included on the ALDS roster, the Indians would likely carry three catchers as a safeguard against another injury setback.
Gomes (wrist) was activated from the disabled list Friday. It appeared that Gomes would almost certainly miss the rest of the season after fracturing his wrist a couple weeks ago, but he will be available for the final few games of the regular season, and the Indians will give him a chance to show if he is healthy enough to be included on the team's postseason roster.