The Cleveland Indians added some insurance, and a little right-handed help at the plate, by trading from its strength Saturday.
The Tribe traded reliever Esmil Rogers to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Mike Aviles and catcher/infield utility man Yan Gomes. Aviles, who has hit left-handed pitchers well throughout his career (.295 average), gives the Indians someone to spell Asdrubal Cabrera (or possibly take over for him).
Here’s what Indians GM Chris Antonetti had to say about Aviles:
He’s played most recently as the everyday shortstop with the Red Sox, but he’s played second base and third base and some outfield. It’s his versatility that attracted us to him.
Here’s what Antonetti had to say about Cabrera:
Asdrubal Cabrera is our starting shortstop.
Of course, Antonetti would never admit it if the Tribe were shopping ACab or looking to package him and Shin-Soo Choo for an elite starter or power bat. This deal certainly would make it easier to do so, though.
Aviles never played for the Jays because he was part of an offseason trade. Last season he hit .250 with 13 home runs and had 60 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 136 games for the Red Sox. He made $1.2 million last season and is eligible for arbitration this winter.
In 43 games with the Blue Jays, the right-handed Gomes, 25, batted .204 with four homers and 13 RBIs. The Indians said they plan to use him as catcher, possibly to compete with Lou Marson in a backup role.
Rogers performed well after coming over from Colorado this summer. In 44 appearances for the Tribe, Rogers went 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA. But the Indians have one of the better bullpens in the AL, so making this trade makes sense.