Guardians All-Time Lists

Cleveland Indians: Top five deadline deals in team history

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(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Best Deal #2 – Brett Butler, Brook Jacoby, Rick Behenna and $150,000 for Lenny Barker

Timing is everything. On August 28, 1983 the Atlanta Braves were in first place in the NL West. They just needed a starting pitcher. The deal was Barker for $150,000 and three players to be named.  The players had already been named, but the Braves wanted to keep them as options for the stretch run.

Barker went 1-3 down the stretch and the Braves finished in second place.

Butler, meanwhile, played center and hit leadoff for the Indians for four seasons. Great defense in center, an OBP of .373. And when he left as a free agent the Indians got a first-round pick that turned in to Charlie Nagy. So far so good.

Jacoby played third for nine seasons, hitting 120 home runs with a high of 32 in 1987.

The deal was good for the Indians, and Titanic meets The Hindenberg bad for the Braves.

Barker won a total of 10 games in three years in a Braves uniform.

Losing Butler meant the Braves had to move Dale Murphy back to center. He was still a good hitter, but more suited to left field defensively.

Losing Butler also opened up a spot at the top of the Braves lineup that no one could fill.

Just for good measure, losing Butler opened up a spot for Braves prospect Brad Komminsk.  Komminsk hit .217 in parts of four seasons for the Braves. The only time he had an above average OPS was 1989 – for the Indians.

Brook Jacoby might not have started at third base for Atlanta most years but he sure would have looked good there in 1983 when Bob Horner managed to play all of 32 games.

Finally, having Barker let the Braves release 44-year-old Phil Niekro in October 1983. Niekro went on to win 47 games the next three seasons with the Yankees (16 twice) and Indians (11). Niekro won more games for the Tribe than Barker won over the rest of his career.

Best Deal #1 –  2016:  Andrew Miller

This is an obvious number one. Miller was lights out in 2016 from the moment he arrived in Cleveland. Terry Francona re-defined the role of relief pitcher with Miller. Any time the game was close, it was Miller time.

In the ALDS Miller dominated the Red Sox:

Game 1 – Two scoreless innings when the game was on the line (end of fifth, sixth and start of seventh).

Game 3 – Two scoreless innings (sixth and seventh).

This continued in the ALCS. Miller pitched 7.2 innings, allowing three hits and striking out 14. And he earned the ALCS MVP award.

Next. Indians History: Lee Fohl’s great managerial blunder. dark

I don’t care if Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield become Hall of Famers. This deal got the Indians to the World Series. No Miller, no series.

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