Yan Gomes is a cornerstone of the 2023 Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs catcher Yan Gomes is currently having a hot streak at the plate, with 5 home runs on the season and a batting average currently sitting at .305 on the season. These offensive heroics, including a two-run homer into the wind on a 35-degree night at Wrigley on Tuesday to cap off a four-hit game, are wonderful to see out of the catcher's spot, but they are icing on the cake in terms of what Gomes brings to the table.
Manager David Ross said that he doesn't care what Gomes does at the plate because his value goes far beyond offensive production. His catching skills are proving to be invaluable for the Cubs' pitching staff, which currently owns the third-best ERA in the National League (3.57). In fact, when Gomes is behind the dish, that earned run average dips below 3.
Gomes was also behind the plate calling Drew Smyly's perfect game bid last Friday, which culminated in 10 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings for the southpaw. Unfortunately, Gomes may have been the reason Smyly lost the perfect game when he accidentally tackled his own pitcher while both men scrambled for a ground ball. Gomes took this as an opportunity to bring levity to the situation as he addressed the media wearing a football helmet following the game.
The humility Gomes showed is one of the reasons why he is respected and seen as a leader in the clubhouse. Cubs starter Justin Steele is having one of the best stretches of any pitcher in the National League, and he credited much of his success to the work Gomes puts in and the leadership he brings to the team.
The Chicago Cubs signed Gomes to a two-year deal prior to the 2022 season. Although his contract expires after this year, there is a club option on his deal that the Cubs will very likely pick up, even if the 35-year-old catcher does not continue his offensive streak. The Cubs are 11-3 this season when Gomes starts at catcher.