Signed RHRP David Riske to a one-year, $1.025M contract, avoiding arbitration
Signed IF Lou Merloni to a minor-league contract; Invited him to Spring Training
#93(tie) 2B Duane Kuiper (1974-1981)
A slick-fielding second baseman, and not much more. His lack of power was not only glaring, but comical. Kuiper used his one major-league home run (in almost 3400 PA) as a running punch line for years. Kuiper was traded in 1981 to the Giants, and spent the rest of his career with San Francisco. Three times, he got the Indians’ only hit (against Ron Guidry, Noland Ryan, and Andy Hassler) in an otherwise unblemished game.
#93(tie) C Sandy Alomar (1990-2000)
What might have been. Alomar came in the watershed Joe Carter trade in 1989, with Carlos Baerga coming to Cleveland with Sandy. In 1990, he delivered on his huge promise by winning the AL Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay healthy throughout his career in Cleveland with rare exceptions.
In 1997, he had his best season, and we saw a glimpse of what he was capable of. He hit in 30 straight games, one short of a franchise record. He was the MVP when the All-Star game was played in Cleveland. He also hit a memorable home run off Yankee closer Mariano Rivera in the ALDS. But that season was mostly the exception, not the rule. His height (6’5″) may have been a factor as to why he broke down so much, but regardless, he was an excellent defensive catcher, a very good game-caller, and a midle-of-the-order offensive player. It’s just too bad that his potential could never be truly realized.