Cleveland Indians: The Five Worst Moves by Mark Shapiro

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Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

#2: Trading Chris Archer for Mark DeRosa

Most trades Mark Shapiro made in his tenure as GM involved dealing veteran players for prospects; however, on New Year’s Eve 2008, he flipped the script and traded three prospects for super utility man Mark DeRosa.  At the time the deal seemed like a steal for the Indians.  DeRosa was coming of a 2008 season in which he hit .285/.376/.481 with 23 home runs, while playing six different positions.  The original plan was to slot him into the middle of the lineup and replace Casey Blake at 3B (who was dealt the previous summer).

DeRosa, a free agent at the end of the season, actually had a solid stint with the Tribe.  He hit .270/.342/.457 with 13 homeruns in just over 300 at-bats.  However, the team struggled to contend, and he was eventually dealt to the Cardinals midseason for a pair of relievers (one of which was future closer Chris Perez).

Where this deal really fell apart though was in who Shapiro dealt to the Cubs to acquire DeRosa.  Jeff Stevens (acquired for Brandon Phillips) was the main piece at the time.  He was major league ready and many thought he could become a decent middle reliever.  John Gaub was a left-handed reliever who racked up huge strikeout numbers in the minors but was a bit of lottery pick as his control was always an issue.  Neither of those two ever amounted to anything…but the third guy sure did…

The final piece of that deal was minor league right-hander Chris Archer.  If that name sounds familiar it’s probably because he’s one of the favorites to win the American League Cy Young this season. Now pitching with the Tampa Bay Rays (via the Matt Garza deal), Archer was always thought to have a great arm, but the question was, how likely was he to reach that potential?  Big upside but high risk type prospect. The ones you love having in the system even though many (most?) don’t make it.

However, Archer was one of those that kept developing and now is one of the best pitchers in the American League. Shapiro has made a living stealing players like Archer from other teams, but he is one of the few that truly got away…

Next: #1: Too Many Poor Drafts