Despite the fact that Gaylord Perry spent less than 4 years with the Indians, we show that the trade that brought him over from the Giants at the end of the 1971 season was worth an average of 14 extra wins a year to the Indians during the 1970s, and worth 150 extra wins to the franchise from the period 1972 to 1987.
It is often stated that you need at least 5 years to fully evaluate the impact of a baseball trade. However, the impact of a trade can often be felt even decades later. Consider the trade that sent Bill Buckner and Ivan DeJesus to the Cubs in 1977. Buckner and DeJesus were both fine players who contributed to the Cubs on the field. The trade, however, took an even bigger significance in 1981 when DeJesus was traded for Larry Bowa and future Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg. The 1977 trade with the Dodgers is indirectly responsible for Sandberg becoming a Cub, because it's quite likely the Cubs would not have gotten Sandberg without DeJesus.
To evaluate the impact of the trade that sent Sam McDowell to the Giants in exchange for Frank Duffy and Gaylord Perry, we examine how each of the players performed for their new teams. We also consider what later trades were direct descendants from this one and consider how the players acquired in those trades performed for the Giants and the Indians.
THE TRADE IN QUESTION
November 29, 1971: Gaylord Perry and Frank Duffy to the Indians, Sam McDowell to the Giants.
WHAT THE GIANTS GOT FROM THE DEAL
1. SAM McDOWELL
Sudden Sam McDowell was a 29 year old who had already appeared in 6 All-Star games when he was dealt to San Francisco. Unfortunately for the Giants, he didn't have too much left in the tank. McDowell went 10-8 with a 4.33ERA in 25 starts for the San Fran in 1972, for an ERA+ of 81. McDowell started the 1973 season in the bullpen for the Giants before being sold to the Yankees. While with the Giants, McDowell was worth 1.7 wins over a replacement level player, according to the metrics at Baseball Prospectus:
1972 San Francisco - S. McDowell - 1.3 WARP3 1973 San Francisco - S. McDowell - 0.4 WARP3June 7, 1973: Sam McDowell to the Yankees, an undisclosed amount of cash to the Indians.
After 2 years the Giants had only a handful of cash to show for sending Perry and Duffy to the Indians. Overall the trade gave the Giants 1.7 wins above replacement, which is around what Gaylor Perry provided to the Indians in a good month.
1972 San Francisco - S. McDowell - 1.3 WARP3 1973 San Francisco - S. McDowell - 0.4 WARP3 TOTAL WARP3 1972-1973: 1.7WHAT THE INDIANS GOT FROM THE DEAL
1. FRANK DUFFY
Firstly, they got a great defensive shortstop by the name of Frank Duffy, who played with the club until the end of the 1977 season. Mark Belanger made sure that Duffy didn't win a gold glove in his time with the Indians, but in his time as a shortstop his fielding percentage was 13 points higher than the average shortstop (.977 to .964) and his range factor 17 points higher (4.45 to 4.28).
Unfortunately for the Indians, Duffy was not much of a hitter. In six years with the Indians he had an on-base percentage of over .300 only once (1973). That did not prevent Duffy from being a valuable contributor to the Indians, as he ended up being worth 18 wins over a replacement level player for the Indians:
1972 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 2.8 WARP3 1973 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 4.3 WARP3 1974 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 2.3 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 5.3 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 2.8 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 0.5 WARP3The Indians tired of having a shortstop who hit around the Mendoza line, so they sent outfielder Charlie Spikes to the Tigers for shortstop Tom Veryzer. With nowhere to play Duffy, they shopped him over the winter, eventually finding a taker in the Boston Red Sox, who used his great glove to backup the .899 fielding Butch Hobson.
1a. RICK KREUGER
March 24, 1978: Frank Duffy to the Red Sox, Rick Kreuger to the Indians.
Rick Kreuger pitched just over 9 innings for the Indians in 6 games before being sent down to the minors, never to be heard from again.
1978 Cleveland - R. Kreuger - 0.1 WARP32. GAYLORD PERRY
For the Indians, the 32 year old Perry and not Duffy was the key to the McDowell deal. Perry had already made 2 All-Star appearances before joining the Tribe and showed no signs before the trade that he was slowing down as he pitched in 280 innings in 1971.
During his three-and-a-half years with the Indians, Perry won a Cy Young award (1972), would win 20 games twice (1974), and pitch an eye-popping 1009 innings over only 3 seasons (1972-1974). He would also go on to irritate manager Frank Robinson and start the 1975 season with a 6-9 record, both of which led him to be dealt to Texas. In his time with the Indians, Perry would be worth over 36 wins more than a replacement level pitcher:
1972 Cleveland - G. Perry - 13.6 WARP3 1973 Cleveland - G. Perry - 9.8 WARP3 1974 Cleveland - G. Perry - 10.7 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - G. Perry - 2.5 WARP3June 13, 1975: Gaylord Perry to the Rangers, Jim Bibby, Jackie Brown, and Rick Waits to the Indians.
2a. JIM BIBBY
Pitcher Jim Bibby was to the Indians what Miguel Batista was to the Diamondbacks. In 1976 Bibby made 21 starts, pitched in relief 13 times, and put up an ERA+ of 109. After putting up similar numbers in 1977, Bibby would end up signing with the Pirates as a free agent. While with the Tribe, Jim was worth over 12 wins more than a replacement level player:
1975 Cleveland - J. Bibby - 3.2 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - J. Bibby - 4.9 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - J. Bibby - 4.4 WARP32b. JACKIE BROWN
Pitcher Jackie Brown had little success with the Indians, going 9-11 with an ERA+ of 82 in his only full season with the club.
1975 Cleveland - J. Brown - 0.6 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - J. Brown - 2.0 WARP3Although he did little on the field for the Indians, he wound up being an incredibly valuable piece of the Perry trade. Brown was sent to the Expos in exchange for a player who would have a lasting impact on the team:
December 10, 1976: Jackie Brown to the Indians, Andre Thornton to the Indians.
2c. ANDRE THORNTON
First baseman/designated hitter Andre Thornton would spend 10 years with the Indians after being traded to the team in 1976, though 3 of those years came after re-signing with the club as a free agent at the end of the 1984 season. While an Indian, Thornton would play in 2 All-Star games, finish in the top 10 in OBP 4 times, in slugging twice, in home runs 4 times, RBIs twice and walks 5 times. One thing Thornton did not do is hit well for average, but when you hit 33 homeruns, drive in 105 runners, and walk 93 times like Thornton did in 1979 nobody is going to complain too loudly when you hit .262.
Thornton would end up being worth almost 42 wins above replacement in his 10 years with the Indians before being released at the end of the 1987 season:
1977 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 6.6 WARP3 1978 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 9.2 WARP3 1979 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 4.1 WARP3 1981 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 1.2 WARP3 1982 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 6.6 WARP3 1983 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 4.7 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 6.1 WARP3 1985 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 1.9 WARP3 1986 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 2.3 WARP3 1987 Cleveland - A. Thornton- (1.0)WARP32d. RICK WAITS
The 23 year old pitcher Rick Waits had one game of major league experience when he was dealt to the Indians in 1975. Waits would end up pitching in parts of 9 seasons with the Indians, primarily as a starter. His best season was 1978 when he put up a 117 ERA+ in 33 starts with the club. Unfortunately he went 13-15 due to a lack of run support. Before being part of a 1983 trade Waits would be worth 27.5 wins above replacement for the Tribe:
1975 Cleveland - R. Waits - 2.6 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - R. Waits - 2.2 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - R. Waits - 3.2 WARP3 1978 Cleveland - R. Waits - 6.6 WARP3 1979 Cleveland - R. Waits - 5.3 WARP3 1980 Cleveland - R. Waits - 4.0 WARP3 1981 Cleveland - R. Waits - 2.2 WARP3 1982 Cleveland - R. Waits - 1.8 WARP3 1983 Cleveland - R. Waits - 1.4 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - R. Waits - 0.1 WARP3June 6, 1983: Rick Manning and Rick Waits to the Brewers, Gorman Thomas, Jamie Easterly, and Ernie Camacho to the Indians.
Here's where it gets confusing, since Waits was a part of a larger trade. To analyze the trade, we will break it into two parts: Manning for Thomas and Easterly, and Waits for Camacho. That probably undersells Waits a little, but I can't see a more equitable way of determining Rick's value in this trade.
2e. ERNIE CAMACHO: Camacho spent parts of 5 seasons in Cleveland's bullpen. His best season came in 1984, when in 100 relief innings he put up a 2.43 ERA. Camacho signed with the Astros as a free agent at the end of the 1987 season. While with the Indians, Camacho would be worth 9.3 wins over replacement, most of which came from his successful 1984 season:
1983 Cleveland - E. Camacho - 0.1 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - E. Camacho - 6.6 WARP3 1985 Cleveland - E. Camacho - (0.1)WARP3 1986 Cleveland - E. Camacho - 2.8 WARP3 1987 Cleveland - E. Camacho - (0.1) WARP3INDIANS SUMMARY
Overall, the Indians made out like bandits in the Gaylor Perry and Frank Duffy for Sam McDowell trade, which must be considered one of the most lop-sided in baseball history. Despite gaining an extra 14 wins on average from 1972 to 1979, the Indians could still not put a competitive team on the field. One can only imagine how bad the Indians would have been had they not traded McDowell. Given that the team was on the verge of bankruptcy more than a few times in the 1970s, there is a good chance the franchise might not even exist today had they not received such a big gift from the Giants.
1972 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 2.8 WARP3 1972 Cleveland - G. Perry - 13.6 WARP3 1972 Cleveland - TOTAL - 16.4 WARP3 1973 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 4.3 WARP3 1973 Cleveland - G. Perry - 9.8 WARP3 1973 Cleveland - TOTAL - 14.1 WARP3 1974 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 2.3 WARP3 1974 Cleveland - G. Perry - 10.7 WARP3 1974 Cleveland - TOTAL - 14.0 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - J. Bibby - 3.2 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - J. Brown - 0.6 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 5.3 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - G. Perry - 2.5 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - R. Waits - 2.6 WARP3 1975 Cleveland - TOTAL - 14.2 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - J. Bibby - 4.9 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - J. Brown - 2.0 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 2.8 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - R. Waits - 2.2 WARP3 1976 Cleveland - TOTAL - 11.9 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - J. Bibby - 4.4 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - F. Duffy - 0.5 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 6.6 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - R. Waits - 3.2 WARP3 1977 Cleveland - TOTAL - 14.7 WARP3 1978 Cleveland - R. Kreuger - 0.1 WARP3 1978 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 9.2 WARP3 1978 Cleveland - R. Waits - 6.6 WARP3 1978 Cleveland - TOTAL - 15.9 WARP3 1979 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 4.1 WARP3 1979 Cleveland - R. Waits - 5.3 WARP3 1979 Cleveland - TOTAL - 9.4 WARP3 1980 Cleveland - R. Waits - 4.0 WARP3 1981 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 1.2 WARP3 1981 Cleveland - R. Waits - 2.2 WARP3 1981 Cleveland - TOTAL - 3.4 WARP3 1982 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 6.6 WARP3 1982 Cleveland - R. Waits - 1.8 WARP3 1982 Cleveland - TOTAL - 8.4 WARP3 1983 Cleveland - E. Camacho - 0.1 WARP3 1983 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 4.7 WARP3 1983 Cleveland - R. Waits - 1.4 WARP3 1983 Cleveland - TOTAL - 6.2 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - E. Camacho - 6.6 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 6.1 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - R. Waits - 0.1 WARP3 1984 Cleveland - TOTAL - 12.7 WARP3 1985 Cleveland - E. Camacho - (0.1)WARP3 1985 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 1.9 WARP3 1985 Cleveland - TOTAL - 1.8 WARP3 1986 Cleveland - E. Camacho - 2.8 WARP3 1986 Cleveland - A. Thornton- 2.3 WARP3 1986 Cleveland - TOTAL - 5.1 WARP3 1987 Cleveland - E. Camacho - (0.1)WARP3 1987 Cleveland - A. Thornton- (1.0)WARP3 1987 Cleveland - TOTAL - (1.1)WARP3 TOTAL WARP3 1972-1987: 151.1