Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Trade away these trades

Like Captain America's shield, Lee Suggs has come bouncing back to Cleveland. Seems like the Browns can't even throw their garbage away right. Most likely, Suggs will end up released now after failing a physical with the New York Jets. Suggs says he's bewildered. Most likely, the Jets just remembered that they were trading for a player from a team God hates.

But it would be Cleveland luck to see this trade voided, a trade that might have actually helped the Browns. Cornerback Derrick Strait may not have been anything special, but both his legs work. That's worth a starting spot on this Browns team.

Of course, none of our players ever fails a physical when we WOULDN'T want to see him traded. Nope, the trade goes through, and our former stars go on to greatness and championship rings in other cities. Here's 10 other trades that Cleveland teams have made over the years that we fans would have liked to see voided:

1) Ron Harper to the Los Angeles Clippers for Danny Ferry

Magic Johnson proclaimed the Cavs as "the team of the ''90s." Then Michael Jordan made The Shot and Wayne Embry made The Trade. The worst trade in Cleveland sports history. A trade made because Wayne Embry didn't like Ron Harper's friends. The trade so bad that it makes Rocky Colavito for Harvey Kuenn -- a trade that spawned a curse, according to Terry Pluto -- look good. In the season after The Trade, the Cavs dropped from 57-25 to 42-40, then to 33-49. Though they rebounded to 57-25 in the 1991-92 season, the window was closed.

It sure doesn't make anyone feel better to know that Ron Harper ended up with five championship rings while playing for the Bulls and Lakers, while Danny Ferry wound up winning one with the San Antonio Spurs. But not with the Cavs, noooooooooooooooooo, neither one.

2) Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers for Harvey Kuenn

Here's what happens to the icon of Cleveland after he gets traded to the Detroit Tigers just before the 1960 season: a sports columnist takes shots at him, he tries to attack the columnist after the columnist charges him with an error while serving as official scorer, he is ejected from a game after going into the stands to take on a drunk who was going after his wife and father, he holds out for a higher salary than team icon Al Kaline and incurs the fans' wrath, and he costs the Indians Tommy John and Tommie Agee when he comes back in 1965. And he gets the team cursed! At least Terry Pluto's happy.

3) Brian Giles to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ricardo Rincon

You don't give the bartender $10 for a dollar draft and tell him to keep the change just because you've got a bunch of $10 bills in your pocket. But that's what John Hart did when he sent Brian Giles to the Pirates for a "much-needed" lefty reliever.

As of a month ago, Giles had hit 213 homers and 267 doubles, drawn 809 walks and posted an OBP of .415 and a SLG of .541. No wonder this is still talked about as one of the worst trades for a reliever of all time. Of course, John Hart didn't learn his lesson. Less than two years later, he sent Richie Sexson, Kane Davis, Paul Rigdon, and a player to be named later (Marco Scutaro) to the Milwaukee Brewers for Bob Wickman, Steve Woodard, and Jason Bere. That Wickman set the Tribe's all-time save record saves this from being a trade where we would have preferred Sexson failed his physical, but wouldn't you rather have had Richie Sexson for the last six years?
By the way, has there been any GM who has traded away as much top-tier talent for nothing as John Hart? Jeff Kent, Brian Giles, Sexson, and Travis Hafner brought his teams back Matt Williams, Bob Wickman, Ricardo Rincon, Einar Diaz and Aaron Myette. Danny Graves, Sean Casey and Marquis Grissom brought back John Smiley, Ben McDonald, and Dave Burba. John Hart paid Mercedes prices for Yugos in both Cleveland and Texas.

4) Brandon Phillips to the Cincinnati Reds for a bag of air

But really, who wouldn't want to keep Ramon Vazquez over Brandon Phillips. After all, Vazquez has the type of attitude that will make him a valuable bench player. He proved it when, after being demoted to Buffalo for the fourth time this year, he said, "I never got a shot here. Not this year of last year." Hey, Ramon -- it's cause you stink! Oh, and Brandon Phillips is hitting .289 with 11 homers, 57 RBI, and 21 SBs. For a team leading the NL wild-card race.

5) Dick Jacobs for Larry Dolan

OK, not really a trade, but don't you wish this swap had never been made?

6) Jeff Faine to the New Orleans Saints for a draft pick

Can the Browns use that draft pick to draft another center?

7) Bobby Mitchell to the Washington Redskins for the #1 draft pick (Ernie Davis)

Sure, maybe it's not fair to call this a bad trade. The Browns didn't know that Ernie Davis, the player they took with that top pick in 1962, was going to die of leukemia before even making it into a game. And they didn't know that Bobby Mitchell was going to go on to a Hall of Fame career. But they did know they are a Cleveland team, and that God hates them. So they should have known something awful was going to happen. Hell, we didn't even get a Brian's Song-type movie made out of this.

8) Earnest Byner to the Washington Redskins for Mike Oliphant

They figured Earnest Byner would never recover after The Fumble. So before the 1989 season, the Browns traded him. He was so despondent, he went on to two 1,000-yard seasons and a Super Bowl title. Then he came back to Cleveland just in time for the Browns to move. But Mike Oliphant scored a touchdown in his first game with the Browns! Of course, it was the only one of his career. For those keeping score at home, Earnest Byner ran the ball 2,095 times for 8,261 times and 56 touchdowns while throwing in 512 receptions for 4,605 yards and 15 more touchdowns. Mike Oliphant ran the ball 23 times for 127 yards and caught 18 passes for 133 yards in his career.

9) Charles Oakley to the Chicago Bulls for Keith Lee and Ennis Whatley

Not content with drafting The Oak Tree ninth overall in 1985, the Cavs dealt his rights. But who wouldn't rather have Keith Lee and Ennis Whatley over a guy who would play in 1,282 games? Lee ALMOST scored that many points in his career (1,114)!

10) Omar Vizquel to the Seattle Mariners for Carlos Guillen

Ooops, Omar actually DID fail his physical in December of 2003, depriving the Tribe of Guillen. Guillen's only gone on to hit over .300 with 40 HRs in two-plus seasons for the Tigers, leading them to the top of the baseball world this season. Most likely, Derrick Strait will intercept eight passes this year as the Jets go 15-1 and win the Super Bowl.


Dan said...

The Tribe has especially made some lousy trades. Back in the 90's, several come to mind.... Like Richie Sexon...

Everyone we trade away gets good. I promise. Wouldn't suprise me if Ramon Vazquez was an All-Star next year (but it wouldn't suprise me if he didn't have a job either).

Anonymous said...

You're talking about bad trades, and no mention of Paul Warfield for Mike Phipps, or Bobby Mitchell for Ernie Davis? Sure, the trades were for the picks they used to select the players in question, but these were bad trades of not just good players, but ALL TIME GREATS in their prime, compounded by the lousy decisions on draft day (okay, one lousy decision, and one blamelessly tragic one). Yet you have a pick that was PERFECTLY RATIONAL given the circumstances (superfluous center for a move up to pick a badly needed ILB who is projected to start Week One for the Browns), and one that affects us for a single season only, above these immortal screwups that set us back a decade at a time?

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