Indians acquire Aviles, Gomes in swap with Jays
CLEVELAND -- Two problems that plagued the Indians throughout this past season were offensive struggles against left-handed pitching and finding a reliable backup to All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Cleveland has attempted to tackle both issues with one early offseason move.
On Saturday, the Indians acquired infielder Mike Aviles, along with utility man Yan Gomes, from the Blue Jays in exchange for reliever Esmil Rogers. Aviles spent the bulk of last season as Boston's starting shortstop and he has a history of hitting well against lefties.
With that background, Aviles might boost Cleveland's depth, especially at shortstop.
"That was part of our motivation," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "The last couple of years, when Asdrubal has either gone down for injury or wasn't available for some reason, or we wanted to rest him, unfortunately, we didn't have that reliable shortstop alternative to turn to. With Mike, we clearly now have that."
Aviles joins the Tribe after already having been traded once this offseason. On Oct. 21, the infielder was shipped to Toronto as part of the compensation for the trade that allowed former Blue Jays manager John Farrell to take over as skipper of the Red Sox.
Last season, the 31-year-old Aviles hit .250 with 13 home runs, 28 doubles, 60 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 136 games for the Red Sox. He has spent the majority of his five-year big league career -- between stints with Kansas City and Boston -- as a shortstop, but he also has experience at second base, third base and in the outfield.
"He's played most recently as the everyday shortstop with the Red Sox," Antonetti said, "But he's played second base and third base and some outfield. It's his versatility that attracted us to him. He's a professional hitter that can fill in at a lot of different spots."
The trade might fuel speculation that Cleveland -- coming off a 94-loss season -- would consider trading Cabrera this winter. Asked if the expectation was that Cabrera would be the Opening Day starter at shortstop, Antonetti did not dance around the question.
Read More: Indians acquire Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes in trade with Blue Jays | indians.com: News
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