Perez, Tito Will Keep Team Afloat
Aug 20, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Bryan Shaw (27) celebrates with catcher Roberto Perez (55) after betting the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The Indians won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Ed Carroll: No, not Gomes’s injury alone. It’s a major blow (particularly on offense, as Roberto Perez is fine defensively), but six-to-eight weeks isn’t a season-breaker, particularly when the injury is suffered in April. That said, if more players get injured, it could really sink them, especially since the offense has already been struggling a bit without Brantley, although both Sands and Raburn have hit well. If the Indians get Gomes back sometime in July, there’s plenty of season left if they don’t get completely buried. By the time Gomes is healthy, Cleveland will hopefully have Brantley and maybe a healthy Nick Swisher and/or Zach Walters, and perhaps the rotation is a bit more settled by then. One other factor that gives me relief is manager Terry Francona, who’s shown the ability to be flexible through injuries and maximizing role players, so if any manager can weather this, it’s Tito.
Cody Norman: We’re a little early to start seriously talking about jockeying for a playoff spot. Yes, the two-month-long loss of Yan Gomes will require other players (especially Roberto Perez) to step up and perform for the Tribe, but there’s still plenty of season left to determine playoff positions. As both Francona and Sandy Alomar Jr. have acknowledged, Perez is a very capable young catcher who would be starting on a number of teams throughout the league. While he is unarguably a downgrade from Gomes, Perez has hit a respectable .266 in limited opportunities for the Indians. He was a .305 hitter in 53 games at Triple-A Columbus last season and certainly knows how to handle a game behind the dish. Despite being stricken with Bell’s palsy in 2013, Perez has become the best defensive catcher in the Indians’ farm system. That’s not to say Gomes is not an integral part of the team, but Perez certainly will not be the reason the Indians lose their shot at a playoff spot.
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