Traded to the Playoffs: The Eventual Seasons for the Indians’ Three Biggest Trades of 2014
Laurel Wilder | On 30, Oct 2014
This season did not turn out the way the Indians had anticipated when they started 2014. Playoff dreams remained just that, dreams, and despite their overall winning record, the team still ended their season without ever seeing an October game.
However, not every player who started on the Indians’ roster ended their season in that same way. The Indians parted with three well-known and long-term players this season who were able to move farther in the post season that they would have in an Indians’ uniform. While none are playing in the Fall Classic right now, it’s still worth it to give these departed players a nod and recap their seasons:
Cabrera was traded to the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline this past season after batting .246 in Cleveland with a .692 OPS. He his 9 home runs with Cleveland and ha 93 hits, 22 doubles, and two triples in 97 games.
In his 49 games with the Nationals, where he moved to playing second base, Cabrera hit .229 with a .700 OPS and five home runs. He had 40 hits, nine doubles, and two triples, as well as three stolen bases.
One of the biggest challenges with Cabrera for the Indians was his apparent lack of effort and sloppy defense. When Cabrera came onto the scene for the Tribe in the late 2000s, he was a player who hustled and even turned an unassisted triple play. He was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, and a Silver Slugger in 2011. He was on his way to becoming a shortstop that Clevelanders appreciated, until he came into 2013 sluggish and unmotivated before suffering a hamstring injury early in the season. He hit .242 last season as compared to his usual above-.270 average.
Losing Cabrera was not a bad thing for the Indians from a player standpoint. Jose Ramirez and Mike Aviles were well-equipped to take over his duties at short, and Francisco Lindor is getting closer and closer to his big league debut. Cabrera was a name known in the area, and his history with the team was perhaps the hardest thing to let go of.
With the Nationals, Cabrera advanced to the NLDS, though Washington was out of playoff contention after they lost Game 4 to the San Francisco Giants.
Cabrera did homer for that Nationals in Game 1 of the series, though they still fell, 3-2, to the Giants. He was also ejected from Game 2 with one out in the 10th inning after arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire. Cabrera was joined in ejection by manager Matt Williams, who took over the argument after Cabrera slammed his bat to the ground.
In exchange for Cabrera, the Indians received Zach Walters who, despite not having a playoff appearance, delivered the Indians some much-needed offense.
Another fan favorite, Pestano was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels after bouncing between Cleveland and Columbus for much of the past two seasons. Pestano was a strong addition to Cleveland’s bullpen, though his recent campaigns have caused fans some pain. He had an 0-1 record in Cleveland this season with a 5.00 ERA in 13 games. He pitched in 12 games for the Angels and earned an 0.93 ERA and was made part of the Angels American League division series roster in October.
The Angels faced the Royals in the series and were swept, and Pestano gave up a run to the Royals in the 11th inning in Game 2 that gave the Royals a 4-2 win.
Despite his strong affiliations with the fan base in Cleveland, Pestano’s move to Los Angeles seemed to be a welcome one from the reliever. He tweeted that he was grateful for the opportunities he was afforded in Cleveland, but was looking forward to playing for a team that wanted to regularly see him on the mound.
Cleveland’s bullpen did not suffer without Pestano, as Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison, Marc Rzepczynski, and Cody Allen performed to a high caliber this season. However, Terry Francona has always thrived on having a deep bullpen, and Pestano’s departure certainly did make his options a little less available.
Pestano is eligible for arbitration with the Angels for the coming season.
Poor Justin Masterson. The gentle giant was Cleveland’s ace for a number of years and suspended contract talks in late March. Masterson was reportedly looking for a multiyear deal that would be worth around $17 million annually, and had received a one-year, more than $9 million deal with the Indians in February to avoid arbitration. He was set to move into free agency at the end of the season. He, too, was traded at the July trade deadline.
Masterson had quickly declined throughout 2014, hardly filling the ace role he had so long occupied. He had a 5.51 ERA with the Tribe this season, down from his All-Star 2013 season ERA of 3.45. He was 4-6 in Cleveland prior to his trade.
Masterson was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for outfield prospect James Ramsey.
Masterson’s departure was felt more deeply in the Cleveland community, as he had long been the starter that fans could rely on for results. On the day of his trade, the Indians all wore high socks in honor of the pitcher. Despite his difficult season, it was still hard for fans to bid farewell to the pitcher who, after his rehab assignment in 2013, finished the last regular season game for the Indians that secured their place in the American League Wild Card Game.
Masterson, unfortunately, did not fare as well as was hoped in St. Louis. He posted a 3-3 record and 7.04 ERA in six starts and was left off the Cardinals’ playoff roster. Masterson is a free agent now, and has been mentioned as a potential acquisition target for the Texas Rangers or the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is likely going to receive a one-year deal with a team as he attempts to rebuild somewhere new after his disastrous 2014.
Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images