While Phil Seghi’s tenure as GM of the Cleveland Indians isn’t exactly remembered as a success, the 1984 season actually saw him make a couple of shrewd deals that laid the foundation for the turnaround of Cleveland Baseball. Even the moves that didn’t go on to help us land the pieces for the 1990’s core were still either good signings or trades that the Indians won, even if it didn’t materialize into postseason success in the 80s.
Here are a couple of those moves
October 21, 1983: Brett Butler and Brook Jacoby were sent to the Indians by the Atlanta Braves to complete an earlier deal (the Indians traded Len Barker to the Braves for players to be named later and $150,000)
December 7, 1983: Jack Perconte and Gorman Thomas were traded by the Indians to the Seattle Mariners for Tony Bernazard
June 4, 1984: Cory Snyder was drafted by the Indians in the 1st round (4th pick) of the 1984 Major League Baseball draft
June 13, 1984: Rick Sutcliffe, George Frazier and Ron Hassey were traded by the Indians to the Chicago Cubs for Mel Hall, Joe Carter, Don Schulze, and Darryl Banks (minors)
Certainly not going to win you GM of the year by any stretch, but there’s some legitimately solid moves in there. I will admit putting Snyder in there is a bit of a stretch, but he’s always been emblematic of the late 80’s Indians to me, him and Jacoby are inextricably linked to those uniforms and the time, so who cares that Mark McGwire was picked 6 spots later, right? Apart from that, all three of those trades netted at least one solid contributor in exchange for guys that didn’t go on to do much after their career in Cleveland had ended. Jacoby and Carter made up the core of a team that got picked by S.I. as a dark horse world series contender after all! Of course we all know how that went, but Joe Carter still provided a legitimate star player in Cleveland during some otherwise frustrating years, and netted us Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar Jr. a few years later, so I think it’s safe to say that we got some good value out of Rick Sutcliffe (who would only have 2 more good years).
As far as the season itself, it was another dud they got off to a really slow start, skidding to a 33-49 record in the first half, but they actually put together a nice last couple of months and went 42-38 down the stretch. Given the acquisition of young players like Jacoby and Carter, seeing them blossom late in the season had to provide a sense of optimism for the future.
As I mentioned recently, things hadn’t fully turned around yet, but the process they were following much more closely resembled that of the Hank Peters/John Hart led Indians than the Gabe Paul years. It wasn’t perfect, but they were making strides.
Unfortunately all the optimism and good vibes of the end of the ‘84 season didn’t last as the following year.... well we’ll save that for tomorrow. Suffice it to say, yikes.