After signing veteran backstop Kurt Suzuki to a 2-year/$10M free agent deal earlier this month, the Nationals have acquired Gomes from the Indians in return for minor league outfielder Daniel Johnson, who was the 2017 Nationals’ organizational Player of the Year, right-hander Jefry Rodriguez, and a Player to be Named Later.
Gomes, 31, is set to earn $7M in 2019, in the sixth year of a 6-year/$23M extension he inked with the Indians back in 2014. It includes club options for 2020 (at $9M) and 2021 (at $11M), or a $1M buyout in each of those years.
An ‘09 10th Round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays who was acquired by Cleveland in a trade in November, 2012, Gomes finished the 2018 campaign with a .266/.313/.449 line, 16 home runs, 26 doubles, and 101 wRC+ in a 2.2 fWAR season.
Gomes guided Indians’ pitchers to a 3.83 ERA in 111 games and finished third among major league catchers in Defensive Runs Saved (+4 DRS).
Johnson, 23, played at Double-A Harrisburg in the Nationals’ system in 2018, missing time with an injury but putting up a .267/.321/.410 line with 19 doubles, seven triples, six home runs, and 103 wRC+ over 391 plate appearances and 89 games.
A 2016 5th Round pick out of New Mexico State University, Johnson went out to the Arizona Fall League once the minor league season ended, posting a .145/.260/.177 line, two doubles, and 10 walks in 18 games and 73 PAs.
Rodriguez, 25, made his major league debut in 2018, posting a 5.71 ERA, 5.97 FIP, 37 walks (6.40 BB/9), 39 Ks (6.75 K/9), and a .245/.381/.469 line against in 38 2⁄3 innings pitched as a starter.
With the Nationals’ catching needs addressed, where will Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office turn next as they build the roster for 2019 and beyond?