Today in Tribe History: March 25, 1997
Bob Toth | On 25, Mar 2015
With his free agency pending following the season, the Cleveland Indians send star outfielder Kenny Lofton and reliever Alan Embree to the Atlanta Braves for outfielders David Justice and Marquis Grissom.
It was a move that benefitted both teams. Atlanta received a Gold Glove and All-Star center fielder in Lofton, who was arguably the best leadoff hitter in baseball, while adding strength to their bullpen in Embree. The team also shed nearly $7 million in payroll in the move and had just one year to pay Lofton.
In Grissom and Justice, the Indians added two players with multiple years remaining on their contracts. Grissom had won Gold Gloves for his play in center in each of the last four seasons and was twice an All-Star while with the Montreal Expos. He had slowed some in recent years but had stolen 76 and 78 bases in 1991 and 1992 and had hit a career-best .308 in 1996. Justice was a power threat but coming off of an injury-shortened 1996 season, when he played just 40 games. He was a two-time National League All-Star and the 1990 NL Rookie of the Year.
Lofton would not remain gone long, as he would re-sign with the Indians as a free agent following his 1996 NL All-Star season.