CLEVELAND – The Indians were busy for the second straight day, acquiring shortstop Mike Aviles and Brazilian catcher Yan Gomes from the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Esmil Rogers.
Cleveland claimed another reliever, right-hander Blake Wood off waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Friday, but the most recent move came at a cost.
Rogers, 27, was a reliable arm out of the bullpen this year after being acquired in a trade with the Rockies on June 12. He appeared in 44 games, posting a 3-1 record and 3.06 ERA.
“Esmil is not a guy we wanted to trade, but we do have some depth in our bullpen, and this gave us a chance to add position player depth to our Major League roster,” general manager Chris Antonetti told reporters during a conference call Saturday.
The acquisition of the 31-year-old Aviles, who was Boston’s starting shortstop this year (.250, 13 home runs, 60 RBIs), prompts speculation that the Indians are interested in trading Asdrubal Cabrera, an All-Star the past two seasons.
Though Cabrera has faded in the second half, Antonetti said he expected Cabrera to open next season as the starter at short, viewing Aviles as more of a bench player.
“We like Aviles for his versatility,” Antonetti said, noting that Aviles can also play second base and third.
It is the second time Aviles has been traded this offseason. He was part of compensation for Toronto losing manager John Farrell to the Red Sox.
A seventh-round draft pick of Kansas City’s in 2003, Aviles spent three years on the big league level with the Royals before being dealt to Boston during the 2011 season. He is a career .277 hitter in 475 games in the majors, owning a lifetime .972 fielding percentage.
Gomes, 25, became the first big league player born in Brazil when he made his debut this season with the Blue Jays. He has spent the majority of his life in the America, attending high school in Miami.
Gomes is also versatile, but Antonetti said the Indians will keep him behind the plate, where he expects him to compete with Lou Marson for the backup job. Antonetti said this move doesn’t mean Cleveland will play starting catcher Carlos Santana more at first base.
Gomes, a 10th-round draft choice of Toronto’s in 2009, played in 43 games for the Blue Jays in 2012, batting .204 with four homers and 13 RBIs. He spent the majority of the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he hit .328 with 13 homers and 59 RBIs in 79 games.
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