Cleveland Indians Monday Recap: ‘Tis Just The Beginning Of The Fun

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Aug 21, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop

Mike Aviles

(4) at bat in the against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With the season complete, it’s time for things to heat up, hot stove-style. Every Monday here at Wahoo’s On First, we will recap the weeks’ transactions and rumors and rehashing the positions around the diamond with a look to what is to come in 2015. This week we will look at the AFL All-Star Game, Mike Aviles keeping his job as Tito’s favorite backup, and a recap of the 2014 Cleveland Indians catchers.

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Tribe Exercises Aviles’s Option 

This week saw the team option on Mike Aviles picked up, which pays the utility player $3.5 million for the 2015 season. Aviles had a decent season, slashing .247/.273/.343 while playing 2nd base, 3rd base, shortstop, all three outfield positions. As our own Ed Carroll notes, he’s a favorite of Tito Francona because of his versatility in the field. The move was expected due to the fact that the cost for someone with Aviles’ talents and flexibility on the open market would be at least double.

Lindor The DH For AFL All-Star Game 

The AFL All-Star Game was this weekend and the Indians had two participants: Francisco Lindor and Nick Maronde. Lindor, who has impressed in his time in Arizona, went hitless batting leadoff as the designated hitter. Maronde pitched two-thirds of an inning, striking out one and giving up a hit. All- Star games are fun, but are not predictors of future success. Lind0r will more than likely start the season in Triple-A with Jose Ramirez probably being the starting shortstop for the big league club. Maronde is profiled as a reliever, and should be in the mix for the Tribe bullpen come spring training.

Sellers Sold To Pirates 

Rosters are in the process of being finalized before the end of the year, and the Indians saw one of their spots open up with the trade of Justin Sellers to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash. Sellers played sparingly for the Tribe this summer, appearing in only 17 games after being purchased from the Los Angeles Dodgers in March, usually as an injury replacement. The 40-man roster is down to 37 players, but a few guys will need to be rostered in the next few weeks, or risk exposure to the Rule 5 draft.

Jul 27, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Cleveland Indians batter Yan Gomes (10) singles in a run against the Kansas City Royals during the fourth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Position overview: Catcher

The Indians expect to have a strong pair of catchers behind the plate in 2014.  Yan Gomes enters the second year of his extension and made the front office look good posting a slashline of .287/.313/.472 with 21 home runs, which earned him a Silver Slugger award as well as being named a Gold Glove finalist for his work in catching the Indians staff while throwing out 32 percent of baserunners.

Behind Gomes is Roberto Perez, whose career took off after overcoming Bell’s palsy,  hit .305/.405./517 and threw out 39 percent of baserunners with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers before being promoted to Cleveland on July 10. With the Indians, Perez hit .271/.311/.365 and threw out 36 percent of runners.

The minors are also well-stocked with prospects, from exciting youngster Francisco Mejia, who impressed in short-season play, to local product Alex Lavisky, who had a decent season with Double-A Akron in 2014. You can learn more about Lavisky, who played for St. Edward High School in Lakewood, OH, in the interview our Ed Carroll had with him in early 2013. The Indians also Tony Wolters to Catcher” href=”https://believelandball.com/2013/03/30/making-sense-of-moving-tony-wolters-to-catcher/”>converted infielder Tony Wolters to catcher, although he still played in 18 games in the infield while also with Akron.

With Gomes’s career taking off, Perez being a valuable backup and the farm far from dry, the Indians are not expected to be players on the catcher market in free agency or trade, even if the team never returns first baseman Carlos Santana to the plate again. It is possible that because of Perez’s value to other teams and Gomes being signed through 2020, that he could find himself on a different team come next summer, but the likelihood is that he will be the backup to Gomes for 2015 at the very least.

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