Gomes, seen here in a very rare moment of not hating everything.
When the season resumes Friday, the Indians will have several questions that still need answers.
While most fans are scouring every morsel of rumor they can find in terms of a bat and bullpen help (raises hand), perhaps the most perplexing question is saved for one who is already on the team.
Just what the heck can be done to fix Yan Gomes?
Wear more stylish glasses? Offer more rum to Jobu because his bats are sick? Sacrifice a live chicken? To stop using Major League references when needing to find a slump-buster analogy? As he smiled with a look of complete resignation as Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorious robbed him of a hit and possibly his best-hit ball in days (if not weeks), all you could do is wish you could give the poor guy a hug.
If there’s anyone who needs to get away from baseball for a little while, it’s this guy. As an everyday player, he’s sitting at an AL-worst .166 with an almost impossible .201 OBP and no apparent hope of getting off of the “Interstate.” The power numbers and RBI numbers (8 HR/32 RBI) are okay, but plate discipline has all but gone out of the window. Gomes drew his eighth walk (it drew cheers of pity for doing “a thing”) of the season yesterday against 69 strikeouts.
In game 88. It’s a stunning fall from grace for the former 2014 Silver Slugger Award winner, where he hit .278 with 24 homers and 78 RBI.
For the past couple seasons, a lot of people would bag on Carlos Santana for his lack of production (reluctantly raises hand). But he always took his walks, making him still a viable guy in terms of getting on base and showing a keen eye at the plate. Santana’s power also was a plus. Gomes has shown no threat in recent weeks of even finding green, let alone the wall or the bleachers.
The irony is that teammate Rajai Davis may have inexplicably played a part in setting Gomes’ career on its current trajectory. It was Davis, then in Detroit, who last year accidentally clipped Gomes that sent him on the long road to recovery. Gomes really hasn’t been the same since.
Gomes has slowly been losing playing time to Chris Gimenez, who has grown into being Trevor Bauer’s personal catcher and has somehow been a more viable offensive threat. But the guy who can potentially have the most to gain from Gomes’ never-ending pitfall is Roberto Perez, who used to be trade bait because of Yan’s importance. Perez is now on a rehab assignment as he works his way back to Columbus, and he could find himself being in the driver’s seat for the stretch run. At this point, sending Gomes down to work on getting his mojo back is not a terribly bad idea. If for nothing else, giving him the Jason Giambi treatment by DLing him with an “injury” might also be in the cards.
And yet through it all, despite the Indians lineup not being truly whole with Michael Brantley effectively missing the entire season so far, and Gomes just not having any luck whatsoever, the Indians are cruising with a 6.5 game lead on Detroit and a seven game lead on both Chicago and Kansas City. It doesn’t take much to believe that the Indians could already be running away and hiding from the rest of the pack if Gomes were even in the same zip code (postal code, eh!) of his former offensive standards. It could be worse. Much, much worse.
Baseball is a humbling game, and no one is feeling more humbled right now than the Indians’ leader.
“It’s has been one of the worst years I’ve had,” he admits to Cleveland.com’s Zack Meisel. Here’s hoping a break does him good.