John Hart

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Sebastian

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Also, let's not forget that Jaret Wright had just pitched a game 7 gem in the world series... as a rookie. Hard to part with that, though yes Pedro was clearly a stud.

ETA: also, Pedro was coming up on a contract. Given the Indians history at the time, and hindsight... do we even re-sign him?
Certainly I would have.

But I think Jacobs would have balked.

Then again, having traded so much for him, they may have been forced to do it while perhaps parting ways with a high-priced bat.

I am not sure of the particulars of that season's roster, they had Sexson and Giles still, they probably could have parted with one of the high-priced guys (Justice? Whiten?) and not seen much if any drop in offensive production.

But Pedro would have changed everything I think. Especially come playoff time because that is the major weakness was having to start Nagy against an ace. Having Nagy as the 2nd pitcher takes a lot of pressure off and greatly lengthens the odds of winning a 7 Game series.

Because you can have Pedro pitch three games in a seven game series, Nagy twice, and only have to worry about Burba, Finley or Ogea pitching once.

The problem was always that other teams had their ace against whom Nagy was usually outmatched. And you could rely on Nagy for one win, and one good outing. And one good outing from Orel. And then one good outing from one of the other three. There just wasn't enough dominating pitching. The Indians only got to Game 7 in 1997 because of the highly unlikely happenstance of a rookie pitching like an ace twice.

So for Pedro coming in for 1998, it makes a lot of difference against the Yankees when you can throw Martinez against Petite or Wells, and then you have a very good shot with Nagy and Burba/Ogea in other games.

You aren't asking poor Chuck Nagy to match an ace every series.
 

Derek

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'98-'00 Burba was our best pitcher not named Colon (who would have been gone in the Pedro deal), and Finley was a stud in '00.

It would have been nice to add Pedro to the mix with them, but I'm not sure there was any chance Dick Jacobs was ever going to spend the money Pedro ended up receiving.

He made over $11 million in '99 on the second year of his 6+1 deal for $75 mill + $17 mill.

Here is the list of players that have made $10 million+ in a season for the Indians
Juan Gonzalez, 2000 - $10 million (one year deal)
CC Sabathia, 2008 - $11 million (traded midseason)
Jake Westbrook, 2008-10 - $31 million
Kerry Wood, 2009-10 - $20.5 million
Travis Hafner, 2009-12 - $49 million
Derek Lowe, 2012 - $15 million (Braves paid $10 million and he was cut midseason for Corey Kluber to come up)

Starting in 2013 it became much more regular with Asdrubal, Swisher, and Bourn all cracking $10 million by 2014. Followed by numerous other players over the last handful of years.

I guess this is a long way of saying that Pedro made $92 million in seven years playing for Boston and we didn't start handing out money on that level until the latter half of this decade (about 20 years later).
 

MadThinker88

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Its often commented that hindsight is 20-20. I don't know if that is fully accurate but hindsight does remove much fog of the unknown.

If the cost to acquire Pedro J (different from Pedro A Martinez who pitched around the same time) was 1 of Wight or Colon along with other pieces, I suspect the deal would have been made. But the Expos wanted both Wright & Colon & the other pieces.. I can respect Hart/ Jacobs being hesitant. While Orel was at the end of the road, there wasn't too much time remaining for both Nagy & Burba.

IF Pedro wasn't resigned (& he would have had a TON of leverage), the pitching staff would have been in shambles & the assets to fill the gaps would have been gone.
 

Sebastian

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Something that I had forgotten from the glory years of the Hart era is how many times he delivered what should have been a super solid starting pitcher to the team to buttress the playoff run only for the hitherto All-Star caliber pitcher to regress and shit the bed from there on out.

In 1995 the Indians acquired Ken Hill, who not two seasons before was a Cy Young runner-up for the Expos. It was thought he could replace the aging El Presidente as a solid No. 2 on the staff. He pitched solidly, a 3.98 ERA, including a shut-out in the ALCS, but wasn't what they'd hoped, or with the team the year after. Never had a good year again.

1996 they signed Jack McDowell, erstwhile Ace and Cy Young winner as recently as 1993 and high-end No. 2 the preceding two years. He got injured and never had a decent season with the Indians or anyone else. And it is shame. Signing McDowell was seen as an absolute coup for the Indians. The Indians were an Ace away from a dynasty and everyone at the time thought McDowell was going to bring multiple rings home to Cleveland. That Cleveland luck.

In 1997 the Indians acquired John Smiley from the Reds at the deadline. Smiley had been the epitome of high end dependability up until 1997. With ERAs in the mid-3s for the balance of the 90s, and an All-Star appearance as recently as 1995, it looked like the Indians added a solid No. 2, bordering No. 1 to go with Nagy, Wright, Orel, solidifying a pitching staff that desperately needed a solid, consistent veteran. He pitched lousy for six games and then broke his arm and ended his career.

They also brought in Jeff Juden to bolster the bullpen, but the less said about that the better.

It was only in 1998 that a trade worked out, at a steep price, when the Indians traded future All-Star and mayor, Sean Casey, for Dave Burba. Burba was never going to be an Ace, or a high-end No. 2, but he did as promised as was a solid starter for the majority of his tenure.

In any event, how things would have been different if just one of Ken Hill, McDowell, or Smiley had really worked out and had been as advertised. Not only did the Indians always lack an Ace, but they lacked a solid, consistent No. 2 man. Any one of those guys playing up to their billing would have changed history.

Imagine if McDowell didn't get hurt and returned to being Jack McDowell. Or Hill pitching like his Expos days. McDowell, Hill and Nagy would have been a nasty staff in 1996-1998. Or Smiley doing what he did for a couple yeas with them. It would have tipped the balance of power for good. There would have been no stopping them.
 

AllforOne

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1996 they signed Jack McDowell, erstwhile Ace and Cy Young winner as recently as 1993 and high-end No. 2 the preceding two years. He got injured and never had a decent season with the Indians or anyone else. And it is shame. Signing McDowell was seen as an absolute coup for the Indians. The Indians were an Ace away from a dynasty and everyone at the time thought McDowell was going to bring multiple rings home to Cleveland. That Cleveland luck.
That was the one that I thought would put them over the top. You figure: take the 1995 team, add the top SP available on the open market (a recent CYA winner who had maybe dropped off a bit, but was still just 30), and start printing World Series tickets, right?

Instead, Stick Figure had one meh year, then pretty much disappeared.

It's a popular narrative to assume that Hart wasn't doing everything he could to improve the pitching staff. As you detailed, that simply wasn't the case. Sometimes, you make the right moves, but they just don't turn out as hoped. All you can do is put the odds in your favor, but that doesn't mean your number is guaranteed to come up.
 

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Yeah, I was giddy when they signed Black Jack, too. To this day, probably my biggest disappointment among Indians signings...my expectations were (unrealistically) that high.
 

bob2the2nd

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Its often commented that hindsight is 20-20. I don't know if that is fully accurate but hindsight does remove much fog of the unknown.

If the cost to acquire Pedro J (different from Pedro A Martinez who pitched around the same time) was 1 of Wight or Colon along with other pieces, I suspect the deal would have been made. But the Expos wanted both Wright & Colon & the other pieces.. I can respect Hart/ Jacobs being hesitant. While Orel was at the end of the road, there wasn't too much time remaining for both Nagy & Burba.

IF Pedro wasn't resigned (& he would have had a TON of leverage), the pitching staff would have been in shambles & the assets to fill the gaps would have been gone.
So while there is one random article out there suggesting that the Expos wanted both Colon and Wright, plus other stuff -that would have been before start of the 97 season (meaning 2 years of Pedro). Jared Wright at the time was one of the top rated prospect in Baseball (im finding top 25), colon wasnt. I cant even find how high of a prospect Colon was, but i was glued to the indians at that time and i dont remember there being a ton of excitement around him(@PIP do you recall?). Jared Wright was always the prospect to be had. To start the season Colon was scheduled to make his MLB debut (Which he did April 4th). Jared Wright on the other hand was in AA to start the 97 season. It was through a series of injuries (mcdowell and others), that forced the Indians to push their top rated prospect up to the majors by the end of June (still a month before the trade deadline). By the time we got the the 97 trade deadline Wright in his 5 starts in the majors was doing damn fine for himself, by the end of year Wright was well on his way to becoming the next great ace, having started game 7 of the World Series on short rest. While colon didnt exactly set the world on fire, it was still his rookie year, but lets be clear here Wright was always the much higher rated prospect. He was the key to any deal.

So by the time we get to the end of the 97 season (the Pedro deal gets made in november of 97), there was zero reason to believe the expos were still asking for both guys, as Wright would have at the time been absolutely the dynamite piece involved in any trade. The other thing to remember here is that while Pedro was a very good pitcher for the expos he absolutely wasnt the world beater HOF he became.
 

PIP

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So while there is one random article out there suggesting that the Expos wanted both Colon and Wright, plus other stuff -that would have been before start of the 97 season (meaning 2 years of Pedro). Jared Wright at the time was one of the top rated prospect in Baseball (im finding top 25), colon wasnt. I cant even find how high of a prospect Colon was, but i was glued to the indians at that time and i dont remember there being a ton of excitement around him(@PIP do you recall?). Jared Wright was always the prospect to be had. To start the season Colon was scheduled to make his MLB debut (Which he did April 4th). Jared Wright on the other hand was in AA to start the 97 season. It was through a series of injuries (mcdowell and others), that forced the Indians to push their top rated prospect up to the majors by the end of June (still a month before the trade deadline). By the time we got the the 97 trade deadline Wright in his 5 starts in the majors was doing damn fine for himself, by the end of year Wright was well on his way to becoming the next great ace, having started game 7 of the World Series on short rest. While colon didnt exactly set the world on fire, it was still his rookie year, but lets be clear here Wright was always the much higher rated prospect. He was the key to any deal.

So by the time we get to the end of the 97 season (the Pedro deal gets made in november of 97), there was zero reason to believe the expos were still asking for both guys, as Wright would have at the time been absolutely the dynamite piece involved in any trade. The other thing to remember here is that while Pedro was a very good pitcher for the expos he absolutely wasnt the world beater HOF he became.
Wright was a far more known prospect and ranked higher but Colon was known within the organization as well... Was kinda like the pitching version Sean Casey (Wright) and Richie Sexson (Colon)... All of them were called up that year.. Colon got close to 20 starts and a 100 innings that season and you could see what talent he was working with from a power perspective...

The Expos tried to sign him in the early-mid 90’s, tried to get him in trades later on and ultimately gave up a ransom for him for a half of season when they got him...
 

Derek

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Wright was a far more known prospect and ranked higher but Colon was known within the organization as well... Was kinda like the pitching version Sean Casey (Wright) and Richie Sexson (Colon)... All of them were called up that year.. Colon got close to 20 starts and a 100 innings that season and you could see what talent he was working with from a power perspective...

The Expos tried to sign him in the early-mid 90’s, tried to get him in trades later on and ultimately gave up a ransom for him for a half of season when they got him...
That's not really true. While Wright definitely earned more hype in '97, Colon was the higher-ranked prospect earning a top 15 rank before the 96 and 97 seasons. Wright was highly ranked, but just 34th and 22nd in those same rankings.
 

bob2the2nd

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That's not really true. While Wright definitely earned more hype in '97, Colon was the higher-ranked prospect earning a top 15 rank before the 96 and 97 seasons. Wright was highly ranked, but just 34th and 22nd in those same rankings.
Where did you find this? I remember wright being the next golden child not colon.

But if true throws even more water on the "expos wanted both" story. Asking for Two top 25 baseball prospects for anyone is ridiculous
 

Derek

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Where did you find this? I remember wright being the next golden child not colon.

But if true throws even more water on the "expos wanted both" story. Asking for Two top 25 baseball prospects for anyone is ridiculous
Baseball reference has their prospect rankings when you look at their minor league stats:


 

bob2the2nd

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Baseball reference has their prospect rankings when you look at their minor league stats:


so then we go back to the question why do the expos think they could get 2 top 25 baseball prospects for anyone, much less a pedro martinez who at that point was good, but not great. His first Cy Young wasnt until the 1997 season, and we are talking pre 97 at this point.
 

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That was the one that I thought would put them over the top. You figure: take the 1995 team, add the top SP available on the open market (a recent CYA winner who had maybe dropped off a bit, but was still just 30), and start printing World Series tickets, right?

Instead, Stick Figure had one meh year, then pretty much disappeared.

It's a popular narrative to assume that Hart wasn't doing everything he could to improve the pitching staff. As you detailed, that simply wasn't the case. Sometimes, you make the right moves, but they just don't turn out as hoped. All you can do is put the odds in your favor, but that doesn't mean your number is guaranteed to come up.
I remember we did try and trade for Schilling sometime in like 2000, and we did put in offers for Randy Johnson a couple years prior. I dont think that Hart wasnt trying, he just never was able to find a deal that got us over the hump. Now, if i was a starting pitcher in the 90s with that lineup, Cleveland wasn't a bad destination at all, but from retrospect, Jacob's never did give Hart a big budget to go get a guy either and we weren't super great at drafting pitchers either then.

side note: (Give Dolan credit, he put out the money for Swisher and Bourne and later for EE. I feel like with Antonetti and Francona running the show, things have vastly improved from the owners box, but thats for a different thread).
 
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Derek

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so then we go back to the question why do the expos think they could get 2 top 25 baseball prospects for anyone, much less a pedro martinez who at that point was good, but not great. His first Cy Young wasnt until the 1997 season, and we are talking pre 97 at this point.
Law claims that was the price tag pre-98. So, right after the Cy Young season. Hart balked at one guaranteed season of Pedro for his top two pitching prospects (if you even consider them prospects after they both lost their rookie eligibility in '97).

p.144-145 of The Inside Game, if you're interested.
 
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In the Seventies the Tribe had no money but they went all-in on Wayne Garland, who promptly suffered a career-ending injury. 10 year contract.

We had Dennis Eckersley but Rick Manning boned his wife so they traded Eck away to avoid problems.

The boat tragedy in 1993 cost us four pitchers, as Ojeda and Wickander were psychologically ruined and Steve Olin and Tim Crews were killed. That really hurt us in 1995 and later years.

Our bad luck with pitching goes way back.
 
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