A couple days ago, the Blue Jays and Indians matched up for a trade that will not drastically affect either team, yet improved each of them. The trade was Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles, who headed to Cleveland, for Esmil Rogers. While Rogers had only been acquired by the Indians this past June, Aviles was acquired just a couple weeks ago in the deal that sent the Blue Jays now former manager, John Farrell, to the Red Sox.
Esmil Rogers pitched very well during his time as a member of the Tribe. From the time of the trade, Rogers threw 53 innings, had a K% of 24.9 and a BB% of 5.5, good for a superb 4.5 K/BB. Rogers has an electric fastball that averaged 95.5 MPH this past season and couples that with a nice slider. While he will most likely pitch in middle relief, you never know with the Blue Jays. Rogers will likely have a platoon split, and has had one, due to his slider, though he'd probably be able to produce as a number four starter for most teams.
His repertoire is not the only thing holding him back from being a capable starter. While pitching for the Rockies, Rogers had serious control issues that he seemed to have ironed out in his few months as an Indian, but you can never be sure. Also, his mechanics might be putting too much stress on his arm which might lead him to either lose effectiveness late in games, or be more prone to injury as a starter.
Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles look to both, at the least, have bench roles with the 2013 Indians. Gomes a 25 year old, is the first Brazilian born player to make it to the majors. He's extremely versatile having played catcher, first and third base and the corner outfield spots. Though he did play in Las Vegas, Gomes hit a robust .328/.380/.557, but had a not so great 7.5% BB rate and a sub-par 21.6% K rate. Gomes can definitely hang around the periphery of baseball for a while given his versatility and above average power. Improving his plate discipline could go a long way and might even buy him a chance at being an everyday major leaguer.
Mike Aviles is also an extremely versatile player, having played most of his career up the middle, he can also play third base and the outfield in a pinch. His main job on the Indians will be backing up injury prone shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, though by the end of the season it wouldn't surprise me if he had over 400 plate appearances. The Blue Jays parting ways with Aviles is a little surprising given that he was the frontrunner for their second base job. Aviles is probably very close to an average up the middle defender. He's probably slightly above average at second and slightly below average at shortstop. He's also a below average hitter, but not by much. All in all, an average fielder, below average hitter playing a premium defensive position is at least a league average, two WAR player if not more.
Altogether, this seems like a trade that will help both the Blue Jays and the Indians in 2013 and going forward. These types of trades involving intriguing yet unheralded players are great for the game of baseball. It gives these players the best opportunity to succeed and allows each team to improve without spending a lot of money or giving up prospects. Hopefully we'll be seeing a few more of these kinds of trades in the coming months.