The “Goon Squad” came up BIG for the Tribe Tuesday night when Jason Giambi hit the game winning two-run walk off home run to win the game 5-4 over the Chicago White Sox.
These guys have been doing it all year for the Indians – coming off the bench at key points during critical games and coming up big for the team.
Who exactly are these guys and how did they end up on the Indians?
Mike Aviles was originally drafted by the Royals in 2003, he was aquired by the Indians in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher Esmil Rogers. Yan Gomes was included in that trade.
Jason Giambi, draft by the Oakland Athletics in the 2nd round in 1992, signed a minor league contract with the Indians on February 9, 2013 and made the team during Spring Training
Ryan Raburn, a 5th round in 2001, played his entire career with the Tigers before being released. He signed a minor league deal in January and made the opening day roster.
Yan Gomes, a 10th round selection by Blue Jays in 2009, became the first Brazilian born MLB player when he made his debut for Toronto in May 2012. Gomes was acquired by the Tribe with Mike Aviles in a trade with the Blue Jays for relief pitcher Esmil Rogers.
All 4 of these “bench” players have made significant contributions to the team this year. Each one being the “hero” of the night with a game winning hit. Giambi has done it twice this year – both against the White Sox. Raburn beat the Rangers with a three-run walk off home run in July. Earlier this month, Aviles hit a game winning grand slam against the Tigers in the top of the 9th to win the game 4-0. Gomes hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning against Marines in May to become the “hero” for the team that day.
Who knows what lies ahead for the Indians, but keep an eye out for the Goon Squad – they will probably play a vital role in whatever happens for the rest of the 2013 season and beyond.