Cubs should trade underrated Yan Gomes before the deadline

(Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images) /

Last offseason, the Chicago Cubs gave 34-year-old catcher Yan Gomes a two-year contract worth $13 million, along with a club option for 2024. To start the season, Gomes was just the backup catcher, but more recently he has been switching with Willson Contreras as the catcher and the DH, and he is really starting to play like his younger self.

Headed into the All-Star break, Gomes is hitting .213 in 51 games, and as that is terrible, as of the last few weeks he has been on fire, batting .300 in the last seven days with an OPS of .764 –  just in time of the trade deadline. Gomes is a solid backup catcher, and a veteran with postseason experience. The former tenth-rounder has a career batting average of .255 in October with Cleveland and Washington, and has appeared in seven postseason series. Among catchers in baseball, he has a 47.4 percent called strike rate, which among backups, is tops in the league.

Even though many of the teams fighting for a postseason spot have two solid options behind the dish, if a trade for Gomes is to happen, it will likely to a team whose backup catcher is likely to become a free agent next season. Therefore, that leaves two teams who are pushing for a spot who could use a solid experienced catcher: the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles.

The Mariners could desperately use another catcher, as their starting catcher Cal Raleigh is batting .205, and Tom Murphy is on the 60-day injured list.  The Mariners closed out the first-half on a 14-game winning streak and are in control of the second wild card spot in the American League. A proven commodity behind the dish could greatly benefit them as they look to end their 21-year postseason drought.

Meanwhile, the Orioles recently saw their 10-game winning streak snapped and head into the break at .500 in a loaded American League East, 3.5 games out of a wild card berth. Baltimore already boasts the top prospect in baseball, Adley Rustchman as catcher, while his backup is former Cub Robinson Chirinos.

Chirinos is still a good veteran backup, however he will be a free agent at the end of the season, and has struggled with the bat this year, hitting just .162. As the O’s may have other needs to fill at the trade deadline instead of a backup catcher, going for an extra bat could be a necessary need for them when it is Rustchman’s day off.

Even though a team like the O’s should not necessarily focus on just trading for a backup catcher, trading for Gomes would not hurt them, whereas for the Mariners, they really need help at catcher, as catchers Cal Raleigh and Luis Torrens are not the answer for a team eyeing October. Between Raleigh’s .205 batting average and Torrens’ .223 clip, even though that is better than Gomes’ .213, Gomes has proven over his career that when he gets on fire, he will stay on fire for a while.

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If Gomes is to make it to the playoffs, the playoff experience along with the possibility of him getting on a hot streak could save a team with its back against the wall. Personally, Gomes reminds me a lot of former Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, a player who can be streaky – and come up big when the lights are brightest and pressure is at its highest.