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A look back at the biggest January trades in Indians history

A look back at some of the biggest trades in the month of January in Tribe history.


The month of January has flown by. Before we depart, I felt a review of some of the more important deals in club history prior to heading out to spring training would be interesting. Chronologically, here are some of the biggest trades in team history for January:

January 7, 1924:

Traded Dan Boone, Joe Connolly, Steve O'Neill and Bill Wambsganss to the Boston Red Sox for George Burns, Chick Fewster and Roxy Walters.

O'Neill had been the Tribe's regular catcher for 9 years. He was heading into his age-32 season and the Indians were ready to hand the job over to Glenn Myatt. O'Neill lasted one year in Boston. Wambsganss, the unassisted triple play guy from the 1920 World Series was another longtime regular. He had one good season, then struggled in 1925 and was cut. Connolly had just 14 AB for Boston and Boone never played for them. Total WAR for the Red Sox: -0.3

Fewster played 2 seasons in Cleveland as an all-glove/no-hit man and Walters netted just 104 plate appearances in 2 seasons. But Burns was huge for the Indians on his second tour in Cleveland from 1924 to 1927. Total WAR for the Tribe: 9.1

January 17, 1937:

Traded Oral Hildebrand, Bill Knickerbocker and Joe Vosmik to the St. Louis Browns for Ivy Andrews, Lyn Lary and Moose Solters.

Hildebrand had been a league average pitcher for the Indians since 1933 but was a disappointing 16-37 with a 5.39 ERA for the Browns in two seasons. Knickerbocker lasted just one year in St. Louis. Vosmik had a great 1937 for the Browns, but he too only lasted one year before they turned him around to the Red Sox for three more players. Total WAR for Browns: 6.3

Andrews spent 1937 in the Indian bullpen before being sold to the Yankees the following spring. Lary finished 19th in MVP voting as the Tribe shortstop in 1937, had an okay 1938 and was sold to the Brooklyn Dodgers early in the 1939 season. Solters hit very well as the Indian left fielder in 1937, slumped badly in 1938 before the Browns claimed him on waivers in 1939. Total WAR for the Tribe: 7.8

January 20, 1965:

As part of three team deal, traded Tommie Agee, Tommy John and John Romano to Chicago White Sox for Cam Carreon; also received Rocky Colavito from the Kansas City Athletics.

Agee had only had 55 plate appearances in three cups of coffee with the Indians and was just 22. He would become Rookie of the Year for the White Sox in 1966 and make two All-Star appearances before they dealt him to the New York Mets. He had a very solid career. John had only been 2-9 with a 3.91 ERA for Cleveland in 1964. He would become a key member of the White Sox rotation for seven seasons before heading to Los Angeles and eventually undergoing the surgery that now bears his name. Total WAR for White Sox: 40.1

Cam Carreon only played one season in Cleveland and is best known as part one of the few father-son combinations that have played for Cleveland. Retrieving Colavito after the fiasco deal by Trader Lane in 1960 had more to do with public relations than baseball, be he led the league in walks and RBI in 1965, making the All-Star team and finishing fifth in MVP voting. He was solid but not spectacular for a year and a half after that, before being traded away again. Total WAR for the Tribe: 5.2

January 7, 1986:

Traded Ramon Romero and LeRoy Smith to the Minnesota Twins for Bryan Oelkers and Ken Schrom.

Romero never pitched for tMinnesota but Smith spent five years with them, 1989 being his best season. Total WAR for Twins: 4.0

Oelkers lasted just one season in the Cleveland pen while Schrom struggled in many of his 62 starts in Cleveland over the next two seasons. Total WAR for the Tribe: 0.0

January 27, 2006:

Traded Josh Bard, Coco Crisp and David Riske to the Boston Red Sox for Andy Marte, Guillermo Mota, Kelly Shoppach and Randy Newsom (PTBNL).

Bard had been a backup for four seasons but Victor Martinez was playing almost every day. Boston ended up trading him to the Padres the following year for a knuckleball catcher, Doug Mirabelli. Crisp was a solid left fielder for the Indians in both 2004 and 2005. He played three years for the Red Sox before finishing up his arbitration days in Kansas City. He has been in Oakland ever since and very productive. Riske was on his last year before becoming a free agent. He played half a year in Beantown before heading to the other Sox and then bounced around until 2010. Total WAR for Red Sox: 5.2

Newsom never made the bigs. Mota was horrendous in 34 games for Cleveland in 2006 before he was sold to the Mets. He had an okay career after that, lasting until 2012. Shoppach lasted in Cleveland for 4 seasons, mainly as a backup. He was the starter in 2008. The Tribe dealt him to the Rays for Mitch Talbot. The key to the deal was supposed to be Marte. The discussion about his chances has been done too many times here. Total WAR for the Tribe: 6.4 (almost all from Shoppach).

January 27, 2006:

Traded Arthur Rhodes to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Michaels.

Actually the second half of the above deal. With Crisp gone, the Indians needed another left fielder. Rhodes had a fantastic 2005, but was already 36. He pitched poorly in Philly, missed 2007 but had decent years in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Total WAR for Phillies: 0.1

Michaels was never really the answer and David Dellucci was signed the following year to platoon with him. He lasted until 2008 in Cleveland before heading to the Pirates in a conditional deal. Total WAR for the Tribe: 1.3

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If you're keeping score, Kelly Shoppach is the best player the Indians have acquired via a January trade in nearly 50 years. How about that?

Next up: A look at the non-trade transactions, including an MLB draft you may not have known even existed...