There was a time when Indians catcher Roberto Perez would come to the plate and I’d be ready for a strikeout or weakly hit ground ball. Since 2014, Perez would catch for Trevor Bauer to give Yan Gomes, the former starting catcher, an off day.
The Indians traded Yan Gomes this past offseason to the Washington Nationals for prospect pitcher Jefry Rodriguez, minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson and a player to be named later.
People were not happy.
Honestly, it felt like part of a selloff for a team that was not going to be competing much longer. Gomes – gone, DH Edwin Encarnacion – gone, LF Michael Brantley (a cornerstone of this franchise for many years) – gone.
Well, right now, Perez has 20 home runs and 48 runs batted in, plus the great defensive catcher he has always been. Compare that to Gomes with the Nationals – six home runs and 26 runs batted in. Perez is even leading in average at .230 to .206.
Now, let’s talk about money.
Perez is making 3.5 million this year as part of a nine million dollar deal signed in 2017 (club options for 2021, 2022). Gomes, on the other hand, will make seven million this year, nine million next year and 11 million in 2021.
It’s not a giant difference in salary, but it makes a dent for a club like the Indians. Put the difference in the “let’s try and re-sign Lindor POT.”
The Indians, at 73-49, are a half-game back of the first-place Twins and 1.5 ahead of Tampa Bay for first place in the AL Wild Card.
Who would’ve thought Roberto Perez would be a big part in this effort?
In Thursday’s 19-4 trouncing of the New York Yankees, Perez had three hits, a walk, two RBI and a HR, which was that #20.
Keep it up, Robby. The Tribe will need you in the playoffs. And for once, the front-office was smarter than the fans.