The Cleveland Indians entered the trade deadline as buyers and made several key moves that are paying off in this historic postseason run.
From the end of July until the end of August, the Cleveland Indians made three trades that gave them the edge that they needed down the stretch.
The Indians began on July 31 with a blockbuster deal that brought left-handed reliever Andrew Miller to the Tribe from the New York Yankees. They would follow that up with another move just a day later, acquiring outfielder Brandon Guyer from the Tampa Bay Rays. On August 31, the Indians brought Coco Crisp, who began his career with the Tribe, back to Cleveland.
The Andrew Miller deal was a true difference maker, which was expected considering how much talent the Indians gave up to get him.
With the Indians, Miller went 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA in the regular season, striking out 46 batters while walking just two. He was able to get the Indians through many high-leverage situations, allowing them to win a number of games that otherwise might have resulted in losses.
Miller’s impact has been best displayed throughout the playoffs. He has been a juggernaut out of the bullpen, and is in large part why the team was able to win the American League pennant.
In 11 2/3 innings, Miller struck out 21 batters while not allowing a run. Even though he is a back-end of the bullpen pitcher, Miller was used in multiple innings in every appearance throughout the ALDS and ALCS. His performance in the ALCS earned him the ALCS MVP award.
After clinching the ALCS, Andrew Miller had this to say:
"“I threw strikes. My defense is incredible. I think that, you know, some of those plays that are made behind me, I don’t think anybody else makes.”"
Brandon Guyer was brought to Cleveland to do one thing – hit left-handed pitching – and that he did. However, Guyer hit both lefties and righties exceptionally well. In 38 games with the Indians, Guyer hit .333 with two home runs and 14 RBI. He also collected seven walks and was hit by a pitch eight times.
Guyer’s impact in the playoffs was minuscule due to limited playing time. The Indians only faced a left-handed pitcher twice, so Guyer only played in those two games – one in the ALDS and one in the ALCS. While he was largely ineffective in the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays, he had a huge ALDS Game 2 against David Price and the Boston Red Sox. Guyer went 3-4 with a RBI and two runs scored.
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Coco Crisp was a late-season pickup that was made almost entirely due to the fact that the Indians would be without outfielder Abraham Almonte in the playoffs due to a wellness policy violation that left him ineligible. Because of Almonte’s absence, the Tribe was going to need more help in the playoffs, so in stepped Crisp.
While Crisp hit just .208 with Cleveland in September, he was responsible for several key moments throughout the ALDS and ALCS.
In five playoff games, Crisp hit just .167, but his two-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the ALDS was the deciding factor, putting the Indians up for good as they would go on to clinch the series.
Perhaps his most impactful moment came in the seventh inning of Game 3 of the ALCS. A sliding catch in left field saved at least one, possibly two runs from scoring, which would have tied the game.
In Game 3 of the ALCS, Crisp delivered a solo home run in the fourth inning, giving the Indians a much-needed insurance run in the game that saw them clinch the ALCS.
While everybody knew that Miller would be good, few expected him to be as good as he was. As for Crisp and Guyer, there were very small expectations for the two when the Indians acquired them. It is safe to say that they have both been welcome additions. As the Indians look on to the World Series, expect all three players to continue to make a difference.