Today in Tribe History: July 29, 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 quoted in Claire Smith’s article “BASEBALL; Indians Send Baerga To Mets” in The New York Times on July 30, 1996, 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 was expected to slot into the second base position vacated by Baerga, while Vizcaino would fulfill the spot formerly held by Espy.

“I think it’s every player’s dream to make it to the World Series,” Kent was quoted in the same piece in The New York Times. “Being with Cleveland, I have an opportunity to go. That’s very exciting for me.”

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