MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Former Barry University baseball standout Yan Gomes has agreed to a six-year $23 million contract extension with the Cleveland Indians earlier this week.
For Gomes, it has been a thrilling ride since he completed his final game at Feinbloom field back in 2009. The Brazilian native was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays of the Florida Gulf Coast League. Later that same season, Gomes was promoted to the Class-A Short Season New York- Pennsylvania League where he played for the Auburn Doubledays.
In 2010, Gomes continued to ascend through the minor league system and began the summer with the Lansing Lugnuts of the Class-A Midwest League. As his maturation as a player blossomed, Gomes was sent to the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Class-A Advanced Florida State League where he finished 2010.
Just two years removed from being drafted by the Blue Jays, Gomes played the majority of 2011 in Double-AA with a brief promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas 51’s of the Pacific Coast League. However, after hitting .359 with four homers and 22 RBI in Las Vegas to begin the 2012 season, Gomes received the call that all minor league players dream of. On May 17, 2012 Gomes became the first Brazilian born player to play in the major leagues and collected his first major-league hit when he singled off Phil Hughes of the New York Yankees.
The rest of 2012 Gomes would go back and forth between the major league club and Triple-A in Las Vegas, but in November the Blue Jays announced that they had traded Gomes and Mike Aviles to the Cleveland Indians. Just last season, Gomes made his mark on the Indians organization and through his consistent play both offensively and behind the plate he entered this spring as the Indians’ every-day catcher.
The grueling toll that major league catchers face on the day-to-day basis of a 162 game season makes Gomes an extremely valuable asset. Gomes has proven that he can produce offensively while building a strong rapport with the Indians’ pitching staff that helped guide Cleveland to the post season in 2013 with a wild-card berth.
Gomes' deal includes club options for 2020 and '21 that could bring the total to $42 million over eight years -- or even $48 million with escalators.
Buccaneers’ head coach Marc Pavao has seen several former players experience success at the professional level, but none more than Gomes.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Yan’s accomplishments. Aside from his ability to play baseball at a very high level he was a great leader and role model here at Barry,” Pavao said.
“He is a hard-working and humble young man and I can say with confidence that all of those qualities that he possesses is a major reason why he moved through the minors that quickly.”
Gomes hit .294 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 88 games last season, his first with the Indians. The Indians went 49-30 when Gomes started, and manager Terry Francona went with Gomes during crucial games down the September stretch.
“I happened to meet Terry Francona at a banquet over the winter and when I mentioned Yan’s name he said that [the Indians]were lucky to have him,” added Pavao.
With his new deal in place, Gomes and the Indians can shift their focus towards 2014 and returning to post-season play.