Two weeks after being traded to the Blue Jays in the deal that sent manager John Farrell to the Red Sox, Mike Aviles is on the move again.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the Blue Jays have shipped Aviles and utility man Yan Gomes to the Indians in exchange for right-hander Esmil Rogers.
Aviles, who turns 32 next March, batted .250/.282/.381 with 13 home runs, 60 RBI and a .663 OPS in 136 games this season for the Red Sox. He earned $1.2 million in 2012 and is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter.
The Indians already have Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis as starters at shortstop and second base respectively, so Aviles could be in the mix at third base or as a backup infielder. It helps that he’s right-handed, as the Indians batted just .234/.312/.352 with a .664 OPS against southpaws this season. Aviles has a .797 career OPS against left-handed pitching.
Gomes, 25, batted .204/.264/.367 with four home runs, 13 RBI and a .631 OPS in 43 games with the Blue Jays this season while making starts at first base, third base, left field and behind the plate. The Brazil native could provide some versatility off the bench and some pop from the right side of the plate.
Rogers began this season with the Rockies, but posted a brutal 8.06 ERA over his first 23 appearances before being traded to the Indians in June. The 27-year-old was quietly very effective with his new club, compiling a 3.06 ERA and 54/12 K/BB ratio over 53 innings. The hard-throwing right-hander has experience as a starter, but it looks like he has found his niche out of the bullpen.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.