Cubs, Gomes agree to 2-year deal

December 1st, 2021

With a deal that shores up the Cubs’ catching corps and is sure to fuel speculation about the future of starter Willson Contreras, Chicago reached terms with veteran Yan Gomes on a two-year contract with a club option for 2024 on Wednesday.

Terms were not announced, but a source told that Gomes' deal is for a guaranteed $13 million over two years. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported that the option is for $6 million, plus $1 million in performance bonuses each year based on starts.

At the moment, the bulk of starts at catcher on Chicago’s North Side belong to two-time All-Star Contreras, who started 112 games in 2021 while hitting 21 home runs and posting a .340 on-base percentage. The fact he is on track to reach free agency following the ’22 season makes Contreras a logical candidate to be traded at some point before the end of next season after the Cubs dealt away Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Báez and Craig Kimbrel earlier this year.

Contreras reacted cryptically on Twitter after news broke of the Cubs’ agreement with Gomes, posting a series of airplane emojis.

The 34-year-old Gomes brings a great deal of experience behind the plate. Over a 10-year career with Toronto, Cleveland, Washington and Oakland, he has racked up 813 games at catcher, which ranked 12th among backstops who were still active in 2021.

Gomes has been a solid defender throughout his career as well, generally grading out above average in caught-stealing rate (33% overall) and pitch-framing. He has collected plus-41 career Defensive Runs Saved, which ranks 11th among catchers since 2012. He rated as neutral on Statcast’s catcher framing leaderboard last season, ranking just ahead of Contreras in both runs from extra strikes and strike percentage.

Gomes also swung the bat effectively in 2021, hitting .252/.301/.421 for a roughly league-average OPS+ of 98. In 103 games split between the Nationals and A’s, he smacked 14 homers and collected 52 RBIs. That’s similar to how Gomes has fared offensively over the past four years combined, with a slash line of .252/.311/.426 (96 OPS+). That stretch included his lone All-Star selection, with Cleveland in 2018.

He also has experience at first base and as a designated hitter, giving the Cubs some options should they field a team with both Contreras and Gomes and the DH becomes universal. Last year, the Cubs set a record by using nine different backup catchers behind Contreras, so at minimum Gomes should shore up that role.

Gomes became the first Major Leaguer born in Brazil when he debuted with the Blue Jays in May 2012. He went to high school in Miami and later played college ball at the University of Tennessee and Barry (Fla.) University before Toronto picked him in the 10th round of the 2009 Draft.