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Jim Ingraham

Commentary: Taking a look at some of the best, and worst, Indians deadline trades

  • Orioles-Indians-Baseball-9

    Andrew Miller leans on the railing before an Indians game against the Orioles in August. Chronicle-Telegram columnist Jim Ingraham says the deal that brought Miller to Cleveland is the best trade the Indians have made in the Jacobs/Progressive Field era.

    PHIL LONG / AP FILE

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It’s the trading season, so you’re probably asking yourself, “Does anyone know where I could find a best-to-worst ranking of Indians’ trade deadline deals in the Progressive Field Era (1994-present)?”

Funny you should ask. . .

  1. JULY 31, 2016: This is a no-brainer. The Indians don’t make it to the World Series without Andrew Miller. They didn’t have Miller until they traded top prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield, plus two lower level prospects to the Yankees. That got the Indians Miller. Miller got the Indians to the World Series. Case closed.
  2. JULY 31, 2010: As part of a three-team, four-player trade, the Indians sent Jake Westbrook, a solid major league pitcher, to St. Louis, and San Diego traded to Cleveland a little-known Double-A pitcher who has become one of the greatest pitchers in Indians history, Corey Kluber. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.
  3. JUNE 27, 2002: Technically this wasn’t a trade deadline deal, but in essence it was, because the Indians traded a star, Bartolo Colon, to Montreal for three prospects who would combine for 10 All-Star appearances, six Gold Gloves, eight-time MVP vote getters, one Cy Young Award and five top-seven Cy Young finishes: Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips. Now THAT’S a trade!
  4. JULY 7, 2008: The Indians traded the reigning Cy Young winner, CC Sabathia, to Milwaukee for three potted plants and a player to be named later, who was named Michael Brantley, who in his 10 years in Cleveland made three All-Star teams, and finished third in the 2014 MVP voting.
  5. JULY 26, 2008: Casey Blake had a nice six-year career with the Indians, but, at age 34, and with the Indians rebuilding, they traded him to the Dodgers for a Class-A catcher named Carlos Santana, who has had a nice nine-year career with the Indians, including one All-Star selection, which is one more than Blake. Santana has also been a key piece on four Indians’ postseason teams.
  6. JULY 29, 1996: In 1995 Carlos Baerga was an All-Star. In 1996 he was done. The Indians knew it, so they traded him to the Mets for Jeff Kent and Jose Vizcaino. At the end of the season the Indians traded Kent, Vizcaino, and Julian Tavarez to the Giants for Matt Williams, who hit 32 home runs, with 105 RBI in leading the Indians to the 1997 World Series.
  7. JULY 29, 2009: For the second time in 12 months, the Indians traded the reigning Cy Young Award winner. This time it was Lee, to the Phillies, for three potted plants and Carlos Carrasco, one of the best pitchers in the American League the last four years.
  8. JULY 30, 2011: How bad did the Indians want Ubaldo Jimenez? So bad that they traded their first-round draft picks from the two previous years, Drew Pomeranz and Alex White, to get him. Ubaldo wasn’t very good for the Indians, but he had a great name, and in 2013 pitched the Indians into the playoffs. In their 21-6 September, including a season-ending 10-game winning streak, Jimenez was 4-1 with a 1.09 ERA.
  9. JULY 26, 2006: The rebuilding Indians traded Ben Broussard to Seattle for a prospect named Shin-Soo Choo, who spent seven years in Cleveland and hit .300, with 20 stolen bases, in three of them.
  10. JULY 19, 2002: Chuck Finley, who was 39 and would retire at the end of the year, was traded to St. Louis, for a player to be wonderfully named later: Coco Crisp. The name alone made the trade. In 2005 Coco hit a crisp .300, with 16 homers.
  11. JULY 31, 2010: Free agent-to be Victor Martinez was traded to Boston for two potted plants and Justin Masterson, who won 14 games and made the All-Star team in 2013.
  12. JULY 28, 2000: A seven-player trade with Milwaukee basically came down to young slugger Richie Sexson, who was stuck behind Jim Thome, for Bob Wickman, who from 2006-18 was the Indians’ career leader in saves.
  13. JULY 31, 2001: The Indians traded pitcher Zach Day to Montreal for the headache known as Milton Bradley. Three years later, the fed-up Indians took the unheard-of step of publicly announcing that they intended to trade Bradley — and they did.
  14. JULY 31, 2014: Sometimes you think a guy’s done, and he’s not. Like Asdrubal Cabrera. The Indians traded him to Washington for infielder Zach Walters. Over the last five years Cabrera has averaged 17 home runs per year for four teams, none of them the Indians.
  15. JULY 31, 1997: There are bad trades and bad luck. This was the former, but only because of the latter. The Indians traded four minor leaguers to the Reds for left-hander John Smiley, a former 20-game winner, two-time All-Star and third-place finisher in the 1991 NL Cy Young race. Warming up in the bullpen prior to what would have been his seventh start for the Indians, Smiley threw a pitch, snapped the humerus bone in his left arm, and never pitched again.
Contact Jim Ingraham at (440) 329-7135 or jingraham4@gmail.com.


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