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Last week the Cleveland Indians traded All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects. For Cleveland fans, this move was expected, and hopefully not the last deal this offseason for a team in flux. The fantasy implications are clear, with one of the better catchers moving, and toolsy prospects coming back in the contract.

There is still plenty of time to go in the offseason so all of this could be changing. What can be said for sure, is that Gomes will start in Washington, sharing time with Kurt Suzuki, while the Cleveland options there is a bit more uncertainty. So, keep an eye on deals for a full context. And yet, with so few options at catcher, any move with one of the better options should interest fantasy owners. Even more, with a shallow outfield in Cleveland, these moves bring new faces into the conversation and players that might even help the team in 2019.

With that, jump on in for some trade analysis, and check out who we think benefits, who loses, and who stays the same.

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Eric Haase (C, CLE)

Stock Up

Until the dust settles, and perhaps another option is added to the mix, Haase has jumped into a Spring Training battle to start the year behind the plate in Cleveland. Roberto Perez is still, perhaps, the starting option due to the glove, but could hit himself out of the lineup before long. For those who are not Cleveland fans, Haase is probably a new name to add to draft lists, and there is enough here to get owners interested.

Haase has long been known in the organization as one of the better catching options regarding swinging the lumber. At Triple-A last year, in 120 games, he slashed .236/.288/.443 with 20 homers and 54 runs. He is not a top offensive option, but is he can keep the power going he looks to be a decent backup option who might hit for the league average. This would be a solid add in two-catcher leagues and should be owned in AL-only leagues as well. His stock moves up as he now has a path to playing time.

 

Daniel Johnson (OF, CLE)

Stock Up

Cleveland wins this trade if Johnson emerges as a starting option in 2020, and has the tools to do just that. Injuries have been the issue so far limiting him to only 62 games in 2016, and 96 in 2018. And yet, at Double-A this past year, Johnson slashed .267/.321/.410 with six homers and 21 steals. The knock on him so far is that the hit tool is at best a 45, but the power and speed play up at 60 plus. Add this to a cannon in right field, and he should be an above average fielding option, who can hit 25+ homers a year while stealing 20 or so bases as well.

This might be the ceiling, and he has a ways to go, but this seems like an easy add in dynasty leagues. The other piece is that Johnson might be the best outfield option, above High-A, in the Cleveland organization at the time of this article. While he will spend most of the year at Triple-A, this could be a September call-up, with an eye to start in 2020. The fantasy stock is up as there is no longer a Juan Soto, Adam Eaton, Michael Taylor, or Bryce Harper (?) option in the way.

 

Jefry Rodriguez (RP, CLE)

Stock Up

The secondary piece coming back to Cleveland in the deal, Rodriquez should be in the bullpen to start the season. While he struggled in 52 innings with the Nationals, posting a 6.75 ERA, there are reasons to be interested. First, the stuff is there with 8.27 K/9 at Triple-A, and 6.76 K/9 at the Majors. The good news for fantasy owners is that much of the damage to the stat line in Washington was done when he started games, and there is no way he cracks this rotation in Cleveland.

This means the stuff plays up even more as he enters the bullpen and should be an exciting option for a front office and manager that like to extend bullpen arms. The stock is up, like the others moving back to Cleveland, for the underlying reason that what might have been a stretch to make the team now looks fairly certain. If eight or so K/9 is the baseline, a move to the pen could push this above nine. He will not be in the closer conversation, but still not a reason to ignore.

 

Yan Gomes (C, WAS)

Neutral

Gomes turned in a great 2018 campaign and should be expected to be one of the top offensive options behind the plate again this year. In 112 games last campaign, Gomes slashed .266/.313/.449 with 16 homers and 52 runs. In some sense, this year is another contract year for Gomes as he enters the final year of guaranteed money on his current deal, with 2020 and 2021 being club options. So this might mean that he is a National for one year, or all three, hurting the trade return for Cleveland.

Gomes should still be a top-six catching option in redraft leagues but does not gain much with the park move. According to ESPN, Progressive Park in Cleveland was fourth concerning run factors at 1.128 last year, and National Park was third at 1.134. There is a nine-rank jump in home runs, but Gomes is not a true power hitter. The stock watch for Gomes is neutral, but this more clearly does not hurt him as he should be the top option behind the plate for the Nationals. If anything, he slots into the top three in the National League for catching options, if Yasmani Grandal moves, so those owners should be excited to draft him this year.

While it might be a cop-out, at this moment this deal does not hurt any of the players involved. Cleveland is, admittedly, worse off with this move, but Gomes was not a big enough piece that he kills the productivity for others in the line-up. If Haase breaks out, Perez might lose some stock, but there is so little to begin, that the impact is minimal. The thing to watch will be young players bouncing back to Cleveland, as Rodriguez could slip down if he fails to make the team out of camp.

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