Where Are They Now? – Tribe Edition
Bob Toth | On 10, Apr 2016
The Cleveland Indians were met in Saturday’s game by Matt Albers, a one-time reliever for the club back in 2013. He is one of four former Tribesmen on the White Sox roster this season. One of the news stories of the day also involved the pending signing of Nick Swisher, Indians disabled list resident from 2013 to 2015, by the New York Yankees to a minor league contract.
After another busy offseason around Major League Baseball, some of your favorite (and maybe not-so-favorite) ex-Indians may have relocated since last putting on a Cleveland uniform. Others have built steady homes in their new locations.
So, if you’re wondering where those players are now, here’s the answer you’re looking for.
The Orioles have two former Indians on their 25-man roster, including starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland. Jimenez was with the Tribe from 2011 to 2013. McFarland never pitching in the Majors for the Indians, but was selected by the O’s in the Rule 5 draft in December of 2012.
Former Indians minor league knuckleballer Steven Wright is on the 25-man roster with the Red Sox and is in the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He was a second round draft pick in 2006 by the Indians and was traded to the Red Sox at the trade deadline in 2012 for Lars Anderson.
NEW YORK (AL)
One of several eight-year Indians on the list is CC Sabathia, the longtime Tribe starter who is starting his eighth season in the Bronx. With a win on Saturday over the Tigers, he is at 215 career wins and will turn 36 later this season. His trade to Milwaukee in 2008 brought the Indians their star left fielder, Michael Brantley. CC’s shortstop, Didi Gregorius, was not technically a member of the Indians, but was part of the three-team swap that revolved around Shin-Soo Choo heading to Cincinnati and Trevor Bauer joining the Indians.
Rays ace Chris Archer was a fifth round pick of the Indians in 2006. In what has become a regrettable trade, he was dealt with minor leaguers John Gaub and Jeff Stevens to the Chicago Cubs in the 2008 offseason for utility man Mark DeRosa. Reliever Ryan Webb, who spent 40 games with the Indians in 2015, is a member of the club’s bullpen.
Ezequiel Carrera is a bench outfielder for the Blue Jays and is in his second year with the club. He made his Major League debut with Cleveland in 2011 and also played for the team in 2012 and 2013. Gavin Floyd, who returned from injury with the Indians late in 2015, is working in their bullpen.
In addition to Albers, who got work in Saturday’s game against the Tribe, Zach Putnam (2011) is a member of the White Sox bullpen and appeared in Friday’s contest. Chicago also boasts a pair of outfielders with ties to Cleveland, including fan favorite Jerry Sands (2015) and J.B. Shuck (2014), a former student of The Ohio State University.
The Tigers signed a pair of former Indians in the offseason, adding utility man Mike Aviles (2013-2015) and reliever Mark Lowe (2014) to their roster. Designated hitter Victor Martinez (2002-2009) is one of the longest tenured ex-Indians player on the list; he has played in Detroit since 2011.
The Royals no longer have any ex-Indians on their roster after Jeremy Guthrie left via free agency. They do still have a tie to the Indians organization as Kyle Zimmer, a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher and former fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, is the brother of Indians top prospect Bradley Zimmer. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu‘s son, Luke Wakamatsu, was drafted by the Tribe last season.
The Twins have not poached any former Tribe players of late. Their pitching coach, Neil Allen, was a pitcher on the Indians’ staff in 1989, appearing in three games in the final outings of his MLB career.
Former Indians left-handed reliever Tony Sipp opted to continue his career in Houston when he re-signed with the club this offseason. He worked as many as 70 games in the Cleveland bullpen between 2009 and 2012. He is joined by his former teammate for three years on the lake shore, Luis Valbuena, with the Astros. Valbuena played for the Indians from 2009 to 2011 before he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays and has developed a surprising amount of pop at the plate.
LOS ANGELES (AL)
Joe Smith, longtime Tribe setup man, is still working in the back end of the bullpen of the Los Angeles Angels. Smith pitched in Cleveland from 2009 to 2013 as part of the club’s “Bullpen Mafia”. The Halos also recently acquired left-handed pitcher Chris Jones from Baltimore. He is on the club’s 40-man roster and set to pitch in Triple-A for the Salt Lake Bees. He was drafted by the Indians in 2007 and traded to the Atlanta Braves to complete the Derek Lowe trade in 2011.
The Athletics are ripe with former Indians players on their current 25-man roster. John Axford (2014) and Marc Rzepczynski (2013-2015) are both working in the bullpen. Another lefty, Rich Hill (2013), signed a big free agent contract after spending nearly all of 2015 in the minors, sans an impressive September effort with the Red Sox. He started for the A’s on Saturday. 36-year-old Coco Crisp (2002-2005) was traded to Boston following the 2005 season and spent three years there and a season in Kansas City before moving to Oakland, where he is beginning his seventh season in the Bay Area. Infielder Joey Wendle is also on the club’s 40-man roster and is beginning his season at Triple-A Nashville.
Franklin Gutierrez, a four-year member of the Indians from 2005 to 2008, is beginning his seventh season with the Seattle Mariners. Lefty reliever Vidal Nuno begins his second season in the Pacific Northwest; he was a 48th round draft pick by the Indians in 2009 but was released from his minor league contract in spring of 2011.
The Rangers paid big money for Choo following the 2013 season. He was a member of the Indians outfield from 2006 to 2012 following his trade from Seattle. He is joined on the club by his former teammate in Cleveland, Chris Gimenez, who played with him with the Indians in 2009 and 2010 and later returned to Cleveland in 2014.
The Braves went into the spring with both Swisher and Michael Bourn on their roster, but parted ways with both prior to the start of the season. Outfielder Drew Stubbs, who spent 2013 in Cleveland, took Bourn’s spot on the roster in the first week of April. Another outfielder, Jeff Francoeur, spent spring training with the Indians in 2014. Reliever Jason Grilli also had a brief stay in the organization; he signed with Cleveland after the 2009 season but missed the season on the disabled list and elected free agency following the year.
Chris Johnson, who came to Cleveland in the Swisher/Bourn trade in August of 2015, signed with the Marlins after being released by the Indians in the offseason and is currently a member of the team’s bench. You may not remember Craig Breslow’s quick cup of coffee in Cleveland back in 2008; the side-winding lefty pitched seven games for the club before he was dealt to the Minnesota Twins.
NEW YORK (NL)
The National League Champions have a pair of longtime Cleveland residents on their roster who are both active contributors to the current 25-man roster of the club. 42-year-old Bartolo Colon (1997-2002) is now in the New York bullpen after spending nearly all of 2015 in their rotation. Asdrubal Cabrera is serving as the club’s shortstop after playing in Cleveland from 2007 to the midway point of the 2014 season.
Remember Jeanmar Gomez? He’s still pitching as a reliever for the Philadelphia Phillies and even though it seems like forever since he pitched for the Tribe (2010-2012), the Venezuelan righty is just 28. Outfielder Cedric Hunter appeared in his first MLB action this week since 2011. He signed with the Indians in November of 2012 and played for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus that season before electing free agency.
The Cubs brought back 28-year-old right-hander Hector Rondon, who never appeared with the Indians and was a Rule 5 loss in December of 2012 with McFarland. Adam Warren is also on the pitching staff and while he was never an Indians prospect, he was drafted by the club in the 36th round of the 2008 draft but did not sign.
Outfielder Tyler Holt joined another former Indians prospect, Brandon Phillips, on the Opening Day roster in the Queen City. Holt was claimed off of waivers by the Reds last September after appearing in games in 2014 and 2015. Phillips played in Cleveland from 2002 to 2005 before he was dealt to Cincinnati. Blake Wood made the club in the bullpen; he pitched briefly with the Indians in 2013 and 2014, appearing in nine games.
There is no love at Miller Park for former Tribe players.
Lefty Trey Haley, who pitched in the Indians farm system from 2008 through the 2015 season, is on the Pirates 40-man roster. He was a second round pick by Cleveland in 2008.
The Cardinals have a pair of big boppers in their lineup whose careers brought them through Cleveland. Injured shortstop Jhonny Peralta spent his first eight big league seasons with the Indians from 2003 to 2010 before he was traded to Detroit. Brandon Moss played the first half of 2015 with the Indians before being traded to the Cards at the trade deadline.
There are no former Indians on the Diamondbacks roster, but their former third baseman Matt Williams is serving as the third base coach on Chip Hale’s staff this season. Pitching coach Mike Fetters was momentarily an Indians player on December 8, 1997, when he was acquired from Milwaukee in a five-player trade, then flipped the same day to Oakland for Steve Karsay.
Three members of the Rockies’ 25-man roster are tied to time in the Indians organization. Ryan Raburn spent each of the last three seasons as a part-time bench option for Tribe manager Terry Francona. Mark Reynolds, who was released by the Indians in 2013 after hitting 15 homers and driving in 48 runs with a .215 average in 99 games, is manning first base in the Mile High City. Tony Wolters was a surprise roster selection by the Rockies despite never playing higher than Double-A in his minor league career. He was a 40-man roster casualty by the Indians in the spring.
LOS ANGELES (NL)
Scott Kazmir, the 32-year-old left-hander who resurrected his MLB career in Cleveland in 2013, is the lone current Dodgers player on the roster of former Cleveland outfielder Dave Roberts, who is in his first season as skipper in Los Angeles.
Drew Pomeranz was traded to the A’s in the offseason in the move that sent Rzepczynski to Oakland. A fifth overall pick by the Indians in 2010, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Jimenez before ever appearing in a game for Cleveland.
No former Indians are on the roster of the Giants.
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Did we miss any players on active MLB rosters? Let us know!
Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images