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Encarnacion / Gomes deal in the works?


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CLEVELAND -- Edwin Encarnacion will have some business to attend to when he arrives to Spring Training with the Indians. He has to sort out how catcher Yan Gomes will be compensated for giving up his uniform number for Cleveland's marquee offseason addition.


There were plenty of texts being exchanged among Tribe players when news broke that Encarnacion agreed to a three-year deal with the Indians. Gomes, who played with the first baseman in Toronto, sent one of his messages Encarnacion's way. The catcher knew that Encarnacion might be interested in keeping No. 10 with Cleveland.


"I'm like, 'Hey, you need my number?'" Gomes said. "I'm not going to disclose anything that went through it, but I can tell you nothing has been exchanged -- yet. I think we still have to talk about it. Whatever it is, you're trying to keep a guy like that happy. If he wants No. 10, he can have it as many times as he wants."


There is some symbolism in Gomes' willingness to part with his number, though.


Gomes endured the most trying personal season of his career in 2016. There were offensive struggles, health woes and setbacks on top of setbacks. Agreeing to switch to No. 7 in order to accommodate Encarnacion's arrival was an easy decision for the catcher. By removing No. 10 from his uniform, Gomes has taken a physical step in turning the page on last year.


"That's a way to look at it," Gomes said. "I overdid it with No. 10. I hope that that doesn't carry on to him. I think he's done pretty well with No. 10 in Toronto."


Cleveland has invested a lot in Gomes, who is signed through 2019 with team options for the '20 and '21 seasons. Last year, though, he never took off at the plate, and then he sustained injuries that shelved him for most of the second half. There was a separated right shoulder on July 17 and a fractured right wrist on Sept. 14. The back of Gomes' baseball card will forever show a .167 batting average and a .527 OPS in 74 games.


That showing is a far cry from the numbers Gomes posted as a American League Silver Slugger Award winner just two seasons earlier .........CONTINUED. ......



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