The Cleveland Indians for the last eight years have been a model organization but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some missed opportunities.
Dating back to the rebuild era of the Cleveland Indians, the team has generally been pretty good at finding and cultivating talent. Well, from 2013 and on anyway. Prior to that, the team was mostly good at not finding and not cultivating talent. Yet, the guys they found (stumbled across) who were worth keeping usually were kept around for a while.
The Indians would rarely let a player leave before they reach their full potential as a major leaguer. Usually, guys leave when they’ve reached their peak as a pro and are often into their early 30’s. Sure, it sucks to see potential Hall of Famers finish their careers elsewhere, but that’s the story of a small market team.
Yes, the team has also traded away prospects, but that’s not who we’re talking about today. No, we’re talking about players who were let go, shipped off or written off for one reason or another. Guys who would go on to revive their careers, or have career years elsewhere, leaving the Indians looking a little foolish in hindsight.
There are probably more players in the history of the ballclub that one can point to, and maybe one day we’ll touch on them as well, but for today we’re going to look at three guys who made real big impacts after their stops in Cleveland, who were young(ish) and could fill a position of need at some point down the road for the team.
So with that, let’s look at three players the team gave up on too soon.