Today in Tribe History: July 29, 1996

1996 – The Cleveland Indians send fan favorite Carlos Baerga and infielder Alvaro Espinoza to the New York Mets in exchange for infielders Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino.

Baerga, a big part of the Indians’ resurgence in the standings and with their fans, had let off the field things affect his play on it. Most notably, he had shown up to Spring Training at 226 pounds and had spent a lot of energy trying to lose the excessive weight he was carrying. In addition, the former 200-hit man said he had been battling through a wrist injury that he had sustained the previous season.

“Leaving the Cleveland Indians is going to be like taking my heart away,” Baerga was quoted1 in Claire Smith’s article “BASEBALL; Indians Send Baerga To Mets” in The New York Times following the trade. “I was down on myself but I want to show people I’m not done; I’ve got a lot of baseball left.”

Kent slotted in at first base primarily, while also working at second and third. Vizcaino replaced Baerga at second.

“I think it’s every player’s dream to make it to the World Series,” Kent was quoted1 in the same New York Times piece. “Being with Cleveland, I have an opportunity to go. That’s very exciting for me.” He hit .265 with three homers and 16 RBI and was traded following the season with Vizcaino to San Francisco.

Smith, Claire (1996, July 30). BASEBALL; Indians Send Baerga To Mets. The New York Times.

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