Sometimes elite Major League Baseball players seem to be groomed for greatness from the word go. Legendary Chipper Jones had a baseball coach at the dinner table with him every night and his dad worked with him until it just seemed obvious a Hall of Fame career would develop. Those stories are great but the ones that surprise us are even better. No one involved in the deal that brought catcher Yan Gomes over to the Cleveland Indians could have known the immediate impact he would have because if they did then the deal would have never happened.
Let us not judge too harshly the teams involved however. Looking at the few stats that Gomes put up while with the Toronto Blue Jays doesn’t exactly stir emotions of greatness for anyone. Someone in the talented scouting section of the Indians organization saw something in Gomes however and boy did it ever pay off like crazy.
This guy came in and took the catching position by storm. He only played 88 games with the Tribe but still put up a .294 batting average, 11 home runs and 38 RBI. He racked up a 4.0 WAR in only 88 games. That is an MVP pace for a starting catcher and the Indians got him for Esmil Rogers, a pitcher.
I mean no disrespect to anyone because it would have been difficult to know how good Gomes was going to immediately be for the Indians behind the plate. Still, with a similar 2014 season this could really begin to look like one of the more genius deals in Indians history. This will be the guy that people talk about a decade from now and kids will be told that Gomes came over in a trade. Really? Who would have traded Gomes?
Nothing is guaranteed in this life of MLB, especially in the life of a catcher. Don’t be shocked if Gomes sticks around long enough and produces well enough to have himself talked about in those kind of conversations. For the season to come, he could well put up a fight for the top catcher in the American League. Here’s to him and the Indians in 2014.