Indians Lookback Pedro and the Big Unit

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Indians Lookback Pedro and the Big Unit

There is no concrete evidence that adding a superstar pitcher would have pushed the Cleveland Indians over the edge in the 1997 World Series or the 1998 playoffs. There is no doubt that the pitching staff was the weakne s of those mid-90s teams, statistically, but who wouldnt lie in the shadow of some of the best lineups of all time?According to oral history, General Manager John Hart had the opportunity to deal for a top-three pitcher in baseball each of those seasons, but the trades never materialized.It is a well-known story around Cleveland that the Indians had an opportunity to land Pedro Martinez, a year from free agency and on a mediocre Montreal Expos team following the 1997 season. Perhaps le s discu Andrew Billings Jersey sed is that they apparently had a deal for Randy Johnson later in the 1998 season, but it fell apart as the trade deadline was about to pa s.The Martinez rumor surrounded Jaret Wright, and Harts unwillingne s to deal the young righty. the Expos were shopping their star, discu sing a trade for a package with Wright, and including Bartolo Colon.Martinez was eventually dealt following the Indians World Series lo s to the Florida Marlins, just under a month after Wright had put up a 3-0 postseason run, including a 6 Tyler Eifert Jersey 1/3 inning no-decision in Game 7 of the World Series. The rookies stock could not have been, and never would be higher.Instead, the NL Cy Young winner goes on to Boston for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr., where he will break Cleveland fans hearts. Just not until 1999.In the meantime, Hart almost swindles the Seattle Mariners out of the final months of Johnsons contract, or so he says. The former GM that he had an offer of at least five players in exchange for Johnson, including Dave Burba, Brian Giles, and Richie Sexson, but that it was turned down two minutes before the deadline.Johnson instead went to Houston for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and John Halama. In 11 starts down the stretch, The Big Unit allowed just 12 earned runs in 84 1/3 innings. He lost both of his outings in the ALDS despite allowing Trey Hopkins Jersey only 3 earned in 14 innings before signing a 5-year, $52.4 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.The 1998 Indians would have been better with either hall of fame pitcher on their staff, that goes without saying. Scroll to ContinueAnecdotally, it is hard to say that adding Martinez would have changed much in 1997. Cleveland won every game Wright started in the postseason, except that last one. Whether or not Pedro, arguably the greatest regular season pitcher of all-time, would have allowed one fewer run in Game 7 and unleashed a butterfly effect is about the only argument to be made.Had the Expos come calling at the 1997 trade deadline, when Wright had 30 1/3 big league innings to his name, the outcome for both sides may have been different. Harts willingne s to deal Wright may have been higher, and his value may not have sufficed.Even at the time, dealing Wright before the 1998 could have seemed like a coup. Most references to the hard-throwing righty are inaccurate, as his fastball averaged 91.3 mph in his rookie season. Though perhaps ERA- and FIP- were not around at the time, nothing about Wrights numbers at the time looked out of the ordinary, sporting a league average ERA. All of that to say that Wrights .233 average against, and that 3-0 postseason, spoke louder than it would two decades later. He also had five years of control remaining to Martinezs one, which must not be understated.The 1998 Indians would have been a better team with either hall of fame pitcher on their side. Whether or not one pitcher appearing once every three or four games would have changed their fortunes against the eventual champion Yankees is close to a gue s.Wright was abysmal in the 1998 postseason, allowing 17 earned runs in 13 innings over three starts. He would never pitch in the playoffs for Cleveland again. Ever the replacement player, Burba posted a 0.03 win-percentage added in the ALCS, while Giles and Sexson combined for a Vontaze Burfict Jersey 1-for-18 series. Any of the group involved could have been addition by subtraction, but the Indians offense posted just 10 runs in their lo ses.Simply substituting Martinez for Wright means the Indians have a much Andy Dalton Jersey better shot in Game 1 against David Wells. He likely starts Game 4, in which Orlando Hernandez blanks the Tribe 4-0, or Game 5, in which Wells allows 3 before turning it over to Mariano Rivera. That does not account for Colons one-run, complete-game win in Game 3.The trade for Johnson makes the staff a little more top-heavy with him, Charles Nagy and Colon, while you can take your pick on which stinker youd like from Wright or Dwight Gooden in the series.Both players would have left Cleveland, following the season, so these hypotheticals are all there are to go on. Neither would have affected the regular season outcomes, aside from playoff seedings. By not making the trades, the Indians instead wound up with Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Lee Stevens, Jeff Stevens, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Jason Knapp, Ricardo Rincon, Marshall McDougall, Jason Bere, Steve Woodard, Bob Wickman, Max Ramirez, and Kenny Lofton the second time.
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