Gomes had been a part-time catcher behind Carlos Santana with the occasional day as the designated hitter. He was initially brought in by the Indians to be a defensive specialist behind Santana, but often found himself in situations where a big hit could make a difference and he was able to deliver; many times with a big home run.
While it wasn’t due to a lack of effort (Santana devoted a lot of extra time learning the position from Indians first base coach and former catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.), Santana became somewhat of a liability behind the plate, allowing a number of passed balls and defensive errors. While Gomes is still developing, he proved himself as the more competent defensive player.
Santana is expected to play the bulk of the season as the Indians designated hitter, but will also see time at first base and as a backup to Gomes.