The Cleveland Indians compiled their 2012 Opening Day roster through a variety of different means. The current 25-man squad is comprised of six players drafted or signed as international free agents, four minor-league free agents, one major league free agent, one player who was purchased from another team, and 13 players who were acquired in trades.
But those numbers certainly do not tell the whole story of how the players were acquired. For instance, of the 12 players the Indians have traded for only Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana, and Jairo Asencio cannot be traced back to a player that Cleveland drafted or signed as an amateur free agent. One player on the team was even acquired thanks to a 1977 draft pick.
Here’s a mapping of all the deals and connections that helped to build the 2012 Tribe.
Rafael Perez: signed out of the Domincan Republic on January 25, 2002
Tony Sipp: drafted in the 45th round (No. 1,333 overall) of the 2004 draft
Jack Hannahan: signed to a minor league contract on December 4, 2010
Dan Wheeler: signed to a minor league contract on January 26, 2012
Jose Lopez: signed to a minor league contract on December 16, 2011
Casey Kotchman: signed as a major league free agent on February 3, 2012
Jairo Asencio was purchased from the Atlanta Braves on March 29, 2012.
Asdrubal Cabrera was traded by the Seattle Mariners on June 30, 2006 in exchange for Eduardo Perez.
The Indians acquired Derek Lowe from the Braves on October 31, 2011 for minor-league pitcher Chris Jones (2007 draft: 15th round, No. 467 overall). The Braves also agreed to pay $10 million of Lowe’s $15 million 2012 salary.
Chris Perez‘ connections go back quite a long way. The Tribe acquired Perez from the St.Louis Cardinals along with Jess Todd on July 27, 2009 for Mark DeRosa. DeRosa had been from the Chicago Cubs on December 31, 2008 for Chris Archer (2006: fifth round, No. 161), John Gaub (2006: 21st round, No. 641), and Jeff Stevens. Stevens came from the Cincinnati Reds on June 13, 2006 as the player to be named later for infielder Brandon Phillips, who had been traded to the Reds on April 7, 2006. Phillips was acquired from the Montreal Expos along with Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, and Lee Stevens in exchange for Bartolo Colon (international free agent signed on June 26, 1993) and Tim Drew (1997: first round, No. 28).
Lou Marson and Jason Donald‘s roots can be traced back the same way. The Philadelphia Phillies sent him to Cleveland along with Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, and Jason Donald on July 29, 2009 in exchange for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco (2002: fifth round, No. 164). Lee was acquired from the Expos along with Sizemore, Phillips, and Stevens in exchange for Colon and Drew.
Finally, the doozy: Joe Smith came to Cleveland as part of a 12-player, three-team deal on December 11, 2008 (trade details here). Smith was traded to Cleveland from the New York Mets along with Luis Valbuena (from the Mariners) in exchange for Franklin Gutierrez. Gutierrez had been acquired from the Dodgers on April 3, 2004 along with Andrew Brown in exchange for Milton Bradley. Bradley had been acquired from the Expos on July 31, 2001 in exchange for Zach Day. Day had been acquired from the New York Yankees on June 29, 2000 along with Ricky Ledee and Jake Westbrook for David Justice. Justice came to Clevealnd from the Braves on March 25, 1997 along with Marquis Grissom in exchange for Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree (1989: fifth round, No. 125). Lofton had been acquired from the Houston Astros on December 10, 1991 along with Dave Rhode in exchange for Willie Blair and Ed Taubensee. Blair was dealt to the Indians by the Toronto Blue Jays on November 6, 1990 in exchange for Alex Sanchez and Taubensee had been selected off waivers from the Oakland A’s on April 4, 1991. Sanchez had been acquired from the Blue Jays on September 24, 1990 along with Mauro Gozzo in exchange for Bud Black (original deal was completed on September 16, 1990). Black had been acquired from the Kansas City Royals on June 3, 1988 for Pat Tabler. Finally, Tabler had acquired from the Chicago White Sox on April 1, 1983 in exchange for Jerry Dybzinski (1977: 15th round, No. 375).