CLEVELAND — The Indians have replenished their bare catching cupboard.
After trading top prospect Francisco Mejia and All-Star catcher Yan Gomes last year, the Indians had a void behind the plate and filled it Sunday by acquiring catcher Kevin Plawecki in a trade with the New York Mets.
The three-time defending AL champions sent right-hander Walker Lockett and infielder Sam Haggerty to New York for Plawecki, who played in 78 games — 64 starts — for the Mets last season. Plawecki batted .201 with seven homers and a career-high 30 RBIs.
The Indians were in the market for a catcher after dealing Gomes to the Washington Nationals in December.
“We’re excited to add Kevin to our major league catching mix,” said Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. “The guy’s earned a reputation as a really good teammate, a good receiver and leads a pitching staff really well. We also believe there’s some upside with him offensively. We like his ingredients to hit and think he can be a contributing member of our major league team.”
Roberto Perez will likely be Cleveland’s regular catcher, with Plawecki backing him up. The Indians are also excited about Eric Haase, who appeared in nine games for them last season.
“Exactly how we split that playing time remains to be seen as we get into spring training,” Antonetti said. “But we felt this was an opportunity to acquire another major league catcher that could help absorb some of the burden in losing Yan. I anticipate that Roberto would get the bulk of the playing time. But again, we’ll have to see how things play out during the season.”
Plawecki spent six weeks last season on the disabled list with a broken left hand. He threw out 23 percent (16 for 70) of potential base stealers and had two four-RBI games.
The 27-year-old played at Purdue and was the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2012 before the Mets drafted him with the No. 35 overall pick.
After signing Wilson Ramos, the Mets didn’t have any roster space for Plawecki, who was out of options.
Antonetti said the Indians remain “very active” in trade talks as they try to replenish their roster and rebuild their bullpen.
For months, there has been speculation that Cleveland will trade one of its top pitchers, ace Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Antonetti made it clear that a move with one of them isn’t necessary.
“Not sure I’ve ever said we felt a need to trade one of those guys,” he said on a conference call. “I’ve never felt that way. Given the quality of the players on our roster, I don’t expect teams will stop calling to express interest. When you’ve got players that other teams really like, they are pretty persistent in calling on them. And that’s not just the case for our starters, but other guys on our roster.”
The Mets made another deal on Sunday, acquiring infielder J.D. Davis and minor league infielder Cody Bohanek from Houston for outfielder Ross Adolph, infielder Luis Santana and catcher Scott Manea, all minor leaguers.
Davis, 25, has hit five homers with 12 RBIs in 66 major league games with the Astros over the last two years. He won the Pacific Coast League batting title last year, hitting .342 (114-333) with Fresno.
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