Cleveland could be without Yan Gomes for as long as eight weeks, but the club is not ready to make a commitment to another starting catcher. According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Indians are not looking for another primary catching option based on the expectation that Roberto Perez can start consistently in Gomes' absence.
While the Indians are confident Perez can be the starter, Rosenthal adds the organization may pursue a backup catcher. Brett Hayes is currently filling in as the backup to Perez, however Cleveland may look to acquire a catcher with more of an offensive upside.
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More on the Tribe
Perez, 26, posted a .271/.311/.365 in 29 games with the Indians last season. Hayes batted .135 in 27 games with the Royals in 2014. Hayes has seen major league playing time during each of the last six seasons and has 425 career plate appearances to his name.
Dioner Navarro has been seeking a starting job, and as a result could be dealt to Cleveland and start until Gomes is healthy. Navarro batted .274 to complement 12 home runs and 69 RBIs with the Blue Jays last season, and while he would provide an upgrade over Perez offensively, the Indians may be hoping to make a smaller move in the coming days.
Steve Clevenger could be available in a trade, and the White Sox have five catchers on their 40-man roster and may be open to dealing one. Colorado was shopping Wilin Rosario this winter, however defensive inconsistencies may lead the Indians to look past him.
If Cleveland is not interested in making a deal for a catcher, the organization can pursue a free agent, however few available free agent catchers have a notable amount of major league experience. J.P. Arencibia is a possibility after being released by Baltimore last week, and Ryan Doumit did not sign with a club last offseason. Doumit has been known to be inconsistent defensively, though, and Arencibia's bat may not prove to be much of an upgrade over that of Hayes.
While no deal is close, the Indians are seeking controllable depth. If the ideal candidate cannot be found, Hayes may remain the backup until Gomes returns.