An MRI today revealed a sprained MCL in the right knee of Indians catcher Yan Gomes, which will sideline the standout backstop for six to eight weeks, Cleveland has announced.
The injury to Gomes is a significant blow to the Indians, who are expected by many to contend for the AL Central title this season but will now be without one of their most valuable players for up to two months. In the interim, Roberto Perez figures to step into an everyday role behind the plate, and Carlos Santana can serve as a backup in the near-term. However, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Cleveland pursue upgrades from outside the organization.
Gomes, 27, has established himself as one of the game’s better catchers over the past season and a half, batting a combined .284/.325/.476 with 32 homers in 223 games from 2013-14. He’s also an excellent defender, grading very well in terms of both pitch-framing metrics and shutting down the running game. Gomes has caught 35 percent of opposing base stealers in his big league career, while the league-average rate in that time has been 27 percent. Both Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference pegged Gomes’ value at roughly 4.5 wins above replacement last year.