Transactions: Indians Claim Wood, Acquire Aviles and Gomes (November 1-4, 2012)

Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

The Indians made their first acquisitions of the offseason, claiming one reliever on waivers and trading another one for two potential role players.

11-2-2012

Claimed RHP Blake Wood off waivers from the Kansas City Royals

Blake Wood was drafted in the third round of the 2006 draft, struggled as a starter after getting to AA, and then found his niche as a reliever. Wood was a decent reliever for the Royals in 2011 before missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. Before the surgery Wood was a fairly typical fastball/slider right-handed setup guy; he threw the fastball in the mid-90s, and the slider in the high 80s, so there wasn't that much of a velocity difference. Still, Wood managed to strike out 8 batters per 9 innings in 2011, and more importantly kept the ball in the yard, allowing just 5 home runs in 69.2 innings. He did walk 4.1/9, so that will be something to watch out for, especially as control is one of the last things that come for a pitcher coming back from Tommy John surgery. Wood had the surgery in May of this year, so he'll likely miss at least the first couple of months of the 2013 season.

Wood is eligible for arbitration, which is probably the main reason the Royals tried to sneak him through waivers. Though he shouldn't cost the Indians that much, given his year off for the surgery. When he's healthy (more likely June than May), he could fill the role that Esmil Rogers did last year; a sixth inning/seventh inning reliever with a lead, or an eighth-inning/ninth-inning guy with a small deficit.

11-3-2012

Traded RHP Esmil Rogers to the Toronto Blue Jays for IF Mike Aviles and C/IF Yan Gomes

So much for the Rogers-to-rotation theory I was trumpeting; the Indians decided that it was time to sell on Rogers. The acquisition of Rogers (for an undisclosed amount of cash) was one of the best moves of the 2012 season, and just a couple months after acquiring him, the Indians traded him for a player (Aviles) that at the very least will be a utility player and another that could serve as hybrid backup catcher/corner bat.

First, let's talk about Mike Aviles. He didn't make it to the big leagues until age 27, having spent 4.5 seasons in the minors. He originally just played shortstop in the minors, but then started playing other infield positions as a way to get to the majors. From 2008-2011 he was a super-utility guy, playing about every other day for the Royals at second, short or third. He was dealt to Boston at the 2011 trade deadline, and continued that role with the Red Sox, and even played some outfield. He hit very well down the stretch for Boston, hitting .317/.340/.436 in 101 Plate Appearances.

After the 2011 season, the Red Sox dealt their starting shortstop Marco Scutaro to Colorado and didn't acquire a replacement, so for the first time in his career Aviles was an everyday player at one position. Although he was fine defensively, he wasn't a very productive hitter. He did hit 13 home runs but that's about all he did; he hit .250/.282/.381, and by the time the season was coming to a close was riding the bench as the Boston was trying out Jose Iglesias.

So it was no shock that Boston dealt him after the season, but the circumstances were strange. Even before Bobby Valentine was officially fired, the rumors were rampant that Toronto manager John Farrell wanted the Boston job, even though he was still under contract for the 2013 season. As it turned out, the Blue Jays didn't want Farrell, and ended up trading him to the Red Sox for Aviles before the World Series.

Aviles is eligible for arbitration for the second time, and he'll likely make around $2.0M or so for 2013. He was rated very well defensively at shortstop, and at the very least he'll give the Indians an actual backup for Asdrubal Cabrera; last season Cabrera seemed to wear down as the season went on, so Aviles should help keep him fresh. If the Indians do deal Cabrera, Aviles could be a decent stopgap if needed, but I don't see this acquisition as a precursor to any further trades.

If Aviles is a bench player, he'll be an upgrade over what the Indians ran out there in 2012 (namely Jose Lopez and Brent Lillibridge). He obviously has some pop, can play second, short, and third well, and could even play the outfield if absolutely needed. Hopefully the Indians jettison Lillibridge and pair either Cord Phelps or Jason Donald with Aviles on the bench now that have a true backup shortstop.

Yan Gomes is a somewhat interesting player, but has some serious flaws in his game. He's primarily a catcher, but has played the corner infield spots. He has good power, though given his short time in the majors, there's a lot of holes in his swing. If you squint you could see a Shoppach-like career for Gomes, as he is a legitimate major-league catcher, and that's what the Indians are hoping for. I think it's likely he'll go to Columbus, play mostly behind the plate, and get the call if either there's an injury or Lou Marson continues to struggle behind the plate.

When he was called up this past season, he became the first Brazilian native to play in Major League Baseball, which is pretty cool. He'll play for Brazil in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

So here's an updated view of the 40-man roster, which now stands at 40.

(click to enlarge)

Nov_5_2012_medium

Blake Wood Career Stats (Majors/Minors)

Year Age Tm Lg ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2006 20 KCR-min Rk 4.50 12 12 0 0 52.0 50 28 26 1 15 46 8.7 0.2 2.6 8.0 3.07
2007 21 KCR-min A,Rk,A+ 2.78 13 13 0 0 55.0 50 19 17 4 17 52 8.2 0.7 2.8 8.5 3.06
2008 22 KCR-min AA,A+ 4.25 28 28 0 0 144.0 128 72 68 10 47 139 8.0 0.6 2.9 8.7 2.96
2009 23 KCR-min AA,Rk 5.55 20 15 3 0 82.2 96 53 51 8 29 53 10.5 0.9 3.2 5.8 1.83
2010 24 KCR-min AAA 2.16 12 0 10 5 16.2 12 5 4 0 7 12 6.5 0.0 3.8 6.5 1.71
2010 24 KCR AL 5.07 51 0 13 0 49.2 54 29 28 6 22 31 83 9.8 1.1 4.0 5.6 1.41
2011 25 KCR-min AAA 0.00 3 0 0 0 5.0 2 0 0 0 0 6 3.6 0.0 0.0 10.8
2011 25 KCR AL 3.75 55 0 20 1 69.2 66 30 29 5 32 62 110 8.5 0.6 4.1 8.0 1.94
2 Yrs 4.30 106 0 33 1 119.1 120 59 57 11 54 93 97 9.1 0.8 4.1 7.0 1.72
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/5/2012.

Mike Aviles Career Stats

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2008 27 KCR AL 102 441 68 136 27 4 10 51 8 3 18 58 .325 .354 .480 .833 121
2009 28 KCR AL 36 127 10 22 3 1 1 8 1 0 4 26 .183 .208 .250 .458 22
2010 29 KCR AL 110 448 63 129 16 3 8 32 14 5 20 49 .304 .335 .413 .748 104
2011 30 TOT AL 91 309 31 73 17 3 7 39 14 4 13 44 .255 .289 .409 .698 89
2011 30 KCR AL 53 202 14 41 11 3 5 31 10 2 9 27 .222 .261 .395 .656 78
2011 30 BOS AL 38 107 17 32 6 0 2 8 4 2 4 17 .317 .340 .436 .775 107
2012 31 BOS AL 136 546 57 128 28 0 13 60 14 6 23 77 .250 .282 .381 .663 76
5 Yrs 475 1871 229 488 91 11 39 190 51 18 78 254 .277 .308 .408 .715 92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/5/2012.

Yan Gomes Career Stats (Majors/Minors)

Year Age Tm Lg G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2009 21 TOR-min A-,Rk 64 265 23 71 23 2 2 46 25 39 .300 .370 .439 .809
2010 22 TOR-min A+,A 75 278 39 70 23 1 9 48 12 75 .270 .309 .471 .780
2011 23 TOR-min AA,AAA 83 324 35 72 19 1 13 52 26 79 .248 .315 .455 .770
2012 24 TOR-min AAA 79 334 44 100 29 1 13 59 25 72 .328 .380 .557 .938
2012 24 TOR AL 43 111 9 20 4 0 4 13 6 32 .204 .264 .367 .631 69
1 Yr 43 111 9 20 4 0 4 13 6 32 .204 .264 .367 .631 69
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/5/2012.
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