The Cleveland Indians have picked up many talented prospects in seemingly absurd trades over the years. But the tales have told that they were, in fact, great trades on behalf of the Tribe.
Keep in mind, this is solely on opinion and is focused upon the main players dealt in these trades. Feel free to comment if you have any questions or objections.
Making arrival at No. 5 on our countdown is the trade of Max Ramirez for Kenny Lofton. The only reason this trade is ranking on the list is because of Kenny Lofton's swagger and raw talent. Lofton had played for the Indians in the year of their "Miracle Comeback" against Seattle in 2001 and seemed to be a spark for the Tribe.
Well, Kenny was re-signed by the Indians before the start of the seemingly magical 2007 playoff run. This led fans to believe that he was the key, he had returned to give Cleveland it's championship that it had been striving for, for so many years.
And he did just that, but came so very close, with the Indians' run ending in the game seven loss to the Red Sox in the ALCS.
He will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of not only the fans, but the organization itself.
At No. 4, we have the mass trade of three average players in the Cleveland organization, for three young and talented prospects at the time.
Josh Bard was a fill in for Victor Martinez in his time at Cleveland. He put up less than desirable numbers and did a decent job, at best, behind the plate.
Coco Crisp was the centerpiece of the trade for the Indians. Crisp was hot during the time and was being scouted out by multiple organizations.
David Riske was a nightmare. Cleveland had to be glad to trade him, as he blew numerous games for the Tribe.
On the other side, we have Andy Marte, a young third baseman currently developing in the minors. He has been up and down from AAA to the Majors since the trade, but is showing promise.
Guillermo Mota was also a rising prospect at the time of the trade, he didn't show any desire and was traded later that year.
Kelly Shoppach was the centerpiece of the trade for the Red Sox. He was a young player and had a firing desire to play baseball. Since the trade, Shoppach has been promoted to the Majors and is currently sharing time behind the plate with Victor Martinez as a decent, up-and-coming hitter.
The trade, in my opinion, went in favor of the Indians, due to the status of the players right now. This will go down as a great for the Cleveland Indians.
Coming in at No. 3 on the countdown is the swap of Diaz for Hafner. This only comes in at number three due to Hafner's inability to stay healthy and average numbers over the past few years.
When Cleveland made this trade, most people were most likely thinking, "What in the world!? We did it again?" But the deal turned out to be very sweet.
Over the years he has been in Cleveland, Hafner has earned the nickname "Pronk", meaning "Project Donkey," because of his large and muscular frame and pure ability to ride the long ball.
Hafner has put up decent numbers since his arrival and should continue to do so for quite a while.
Receiving honors of runner-up on the countdown is the deal of C.C. Sabathia for Matt LaPorta.
Sabathia, was the ace for Cleveland and seemed quite comfortable there. He was a solid and reliable player that the Tribe could count on for a game they needed.
LaPorta was in the process of making his way onto the scene. He was earning his name and was being recognized as the Brewers top Minor League prospect.
The trade seemed a little unbalanced but was going to develop. In the eyes of the fans, the trade didn't seem too great at the time, and was seen as a less-than-glamorous deal.
Since then, LaPorta has been up-and-down between AAA Columbus and the Majors, but he has been doing very well, placing himself at the heart of the Clippers line-up. His hitting has been on fire and is steadily improving.
Indians are starting to make trades that actually make some sense. (To the fans viewpoint of course.) But Cleveland should be happy with this one, as LaPora is destined to be a star in the Tribe organization.
Taking home the prize of the duel is the trade of Bartolo Colon for Sizemore, Lee, and Phillips.
During all of this, Colon was on fire for the Indians and was their "Jewel in the Crown." But Cleveland had other plans.
The Indians busted off this amazing trade for basically one sole player, receiving outstanding young, talented prospects in return.
Grady Sizemore is now only one of Cleveland's many prizes, but leads off and does a heck of job at that. Cliff Lee came in and pitched well, very well.—earning himself the title of 2008 American League Cy Young Award.
Phillips didn't stay long, as he was later traded to the Reds. But this, in my opinion, is the single best trade the Indians have ever made.