Could Any of this Year’s Trades Turn Into Steals of the Past?
Laurel Wilder | On 01, Aug 2015
The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Indians have said goodbye to two of the nicest players on their team. Sure, personality does not a great ball player make, but it’s still said to see well-liked players go. However, the remainder of this season and the unfolding of seasons to come will show if the moves made this will have a significant affect on the Indians organization.
Perhaps a look back at some of the more successful recent trades will boost optimism that the rest of this season, and future seasons, as well, could benefit from what happens at the end of July.
Despite having taken part in trades that were less-than-ideal at the time (no one can argue that it was easy to stomach the loss of Victor Martinez in exchange for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price in 2009, especially since Masterson is now gone and Hagadone is dealing with yet another elbow injury), the Indians have also been part of trades that currently provide excitement for Cleveland fans, and give hope to the organization.
In 2012, the Indians struggled offensively against left-handed pitchers and lacked infield depth, particularly to back-up then-All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera at short. With a 3-1 record and 3.06 ERA in 44 games, reliever Esmil Rogers was the player the Indians chose to use as a bargaining chip to find the strengths they were lacking. Early in the offseason, the Indians traded Rogers to the Blue Jays in a deal that brought them Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes.
Aviles had experience as the Red Sox starting shortstop earlier in the season, providing infield depth. Gomes was touted as a utility man, spending most of his career as a catcher with other teams though also possessing the ability to play first and third.
Since the trade, Aviles has turned into a super utility man for the Tribe, and has won a place in the hearts of fans and the organization alike. He is hitting .229 this season with five doubles, four home runs, and 9 RBI. He posts a .603 OPS in 62 games. Defensively, Aviles has made seven errors this season. He has a career .974 fielding percentage. While he has turned out to be a great addition to the Tribe, he has also become a good bargaining piece for a future trade. However, as his daughter Adrianna is receiving cancer treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, the organization has refused to listen to trade offers for Aviles.
Gomes has been invaluable for the Indians behind the plate, becoming one of the best catchers in baseball. Although he was sidelined earlier this season after a collision at the plate, he has come back to cement himself as a vital member of the Tribe. He posts a .226 average with five home runs and 18 RBI in 50 games, and has lived up to the “Don’t run on Yan,” mantra that has come to define his time behind the plate.
Rogers was designated for assignment by Toronto in 2014 after posting a 6.97 ERA in 16 games this season with a 0-0 record and no saves. He was picked up by the New York Yankees last year and has a .627 ERA in 2015 in 18 games and boasts a 1-1 record.
The Indians also seem to be doing just fine with respect to the 2010 three-way trade that sent Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals, St. Louis outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres, and sent Padres’ AA pitcher Corey Kluber to Cleveland.
Kluber spent time with the Indians AA and AAA affiliates before making his Major League debut in 2011. He pitched three games on the big league stage, going 0-0 with an 8.31 ERA. He started 2012 in AAA Columbus, going 11-7 with a 3.59 ERA, and went 2-5 in 2012 with the big league club. 2013 cemented Kluber as a regular member of the Major League roster, as he pitched two games in Columbus and then went 11-5 with the Tribe. He was 18-9 in 2014 and won the American League Cy Young Award after his nothing short of phenomenal season. This year has been a bit more of a struggle for Kluber, though much of that can be attributed to the Indians offensive offense. Kluber is 6-11 with a 3.44 ERA, but has struck on 172 batters this year.
Jake Westbrook retired in February 2014.
The jury is still out on how the Masterson for James Ramsey and Cabrera for Zach Walters trades will pan out, though neither has been an outright flop or success as of yet. The same will likely be said for the trades that happen this year. Rob Kaminsky has been highly touted as a pitcher within the Cardinals organization, and Eric Stamets is said to be a “polished infielder” who could have potential at shortstop, thought the Indians will not need a shortstop for a while as long as Francisco Lindor remains in the fray.
Regardless, the trade deadline has passed and what the Indians acquired and gave up now is what it is. Time will tell how these trades will shape up, but, for now, fans have the knowledge of previous trade steals to give them hope that these could turn out to be truly phenomenal deals.
Photo: Getty Images