During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the Spring Invitees with a chance to make the Tribe’s Opening Day roster.
By Steve Eby
Think back to Carlos Baerga, circa 1996.
The Tribe second baseman was only a year removed from an All-Star campaign that helped lead his team to a World Series appearance. He was a cog in the mighty Indians batting order—hitting third in arguably the most feared lineups of the steroid-infested 1990’s. He was the toast of the town, a true budding superstar who had seen more success by his mid-20’s than most baseball players see in their entire lifetime.
Then it stopped.
Baerga stopped hitting and stopped driving in runs. He stopped being a consistent contributor and was immediately traded away to the New York Mets. He never regained his star status with the Mets and was out of Major League baseball four years later. He played for a Korean team in 2001 before catching back on with the Boston Red Sox in 2002.
Now think back to Scott Kazmir, circa 2009.
Just like Baerga, the Rays ace was only one year removed from an All-Star campaign that helped his team to a World Series appearance. He was a cog in the mighty Rays pitching staff—sitting as the number two pitcher in a deep rotation that included James Shields, Matt Garza and David Price. He was one of the most popular players in St. Petersburg and was already one of the best young pitchers in baseball.
Then…just like Baerga…it stopped too.