The Major League Baseball offseason is generally a time of hope for Cleveland Indians fans. We hope for the front office to aggressively pursue trades and sign players that will push the Tribe to the playoffs. Fans had these wishes granted as Chris Antonetti was able to lure in guys like Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, while trading for a top pitching prospect in Trevor Bauer. One trade that went largely unnoticed, however, was trading Esmil Rogers to the Blue Jays for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes.
The Dominican-born Esmil Rogers was traded to the Indians for cash considerations last June of 2012. Rogers was designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies, after going 0-2 with an 8.06 ERA. With a fastball that reaches 100 mph, the Tribe gave him a shot and put him in the bullpen. This ended up being one of the better moves by Cleveland, as Rogers went 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 53 innings.
After showing such great promise with the Indians, Rogers was believed to have a spot in the bullpen going into 2013. However, plenty of questions surrounded him. Would he be the pitcher in Colorado with an 8.06 ERA or the pitcher in Cleveland with an ERA of 3.06? The front office may have been concerned about this, as they shipped him to Toronto. In exchange for Rogers, the Indians acquired Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes, two players that have been productive so far in this young season.
One position on the Indians that needed to be upgraded was at the utility infielder spot. Last year, players like Jason Donald, Jose Lopez, and Brent Lillibridge were counted on to play when a utility infielder was needed. None of these three were even the slightest bit productive when counted on. It became obvious that an upgrade was needed, and Mike Aviles was easily an upgrade. Aviles is a veteran presence for a young team, and has starting experience after his time with Kansas City and Boston. Though he doesn’t have the hottest bat, he is still hitting .250 with 11 RBIs, and is a more than capable to handle any of the infield positions. He also knocked in 5 RBIs Saturday night against Kansas City. Compared to last season’s slew of utility infielders, Aviles brings consistency to the position, and could start if a guy like Asdrubal Cabrera is traded later on in the season.
The other player received in the trade, Yan Gomes, is still working on his offense, but is showing early signs of power and is solid on defense. He is only hitting a meager .208, but has two home runs and two triples. He will most likely be back in Triple-A after Lou Marson’s DL stint, where he can get every day at bats and continue to improve. The jury is still out on Rogers, however, as he currently has a 4.15 ERA early in this season, but this trade is a win for the Cleveland Indians.