The Syracuse Orange organization has announced it has designated for assignment two players today, one RP Josh Johnson and C Yan Gomes.
Gomes who was mainly a platoon type player usually against left handed pitching has been with the organization since they were the Orem Owlz. His best season was with the Owlz when he hit 12 home runs in only 280 at bats with an OPS of 811 in only 71 games. Since then Gomes has been hit or miss, 531 OPS in 2016, 733 in 2017 and a 774 last season. His presence in the clubhouse I’m sure was considered but with Gomes being a non factor on offense this season (0 hits in 17 ABs) it seems as if his time in Syracuse is over.
Jim Johnson a reliever who anchored a bullpen last season with his 3.04 ERA while pitching 74 innings was also shown the door. Johnson was acquired along with retired pitcher Zach Britton in exchange for Jeimer Candelario also has not lived up to expectations this season. Turning 36 in a short month Johnson looks to have regressed to the point where there are many arms in AAA that would be a vast improvement over Johnson who has walked more than he’s struck out.
When two players leave, two must step in. Syracuse Nation has called up catcher Michael Cantu who came over last off season in a deal with Altoona. Last season Cantu hit 19 home runs for AA Utica. While Gomes was starting against left handed pitching for Syracuse it is expected that Cantu will be a full time backup giving the total starting role to Christian Vazquez. Taking Johnson’s spot in the bullpen is former starter turned reliever Justus Sheffield. Sheffield since moving to the pen has put up impressive strikeout numbers, more than one an inning. With Johnny Venters being the only southpaw in the pen it looks as if the lefty Sheffield was brought up to give some much needed support against left handed hitting.
With Syracuse sitting at 25 and 8 on the season it seems a little strange to change the roster, but they must believe that they can get better.