Where Are They Now? Cleveland’s Influence On Other Clubs

Where Are They Now? Cleveland's Influence On Other Clubs

The Cleveland Guardians have quite an influence on 28 of the other 29 Major League teams this season. Only the Texas Rangers do not have a former Cleveland player, coach or executive on their 40-man roster or staff.

Three teams have general managers and nine have managers who once earned a paycheck in Cleveland. There are also 29 big-league coaches along with 48 players on current 40-man rosters that have ties to the organization. Two of those coaches are brothers and both played briefly in Cleveland. One current manager played in Cleveland, where his dad also played and coached. Yet another team has four former Cleveland players on its’ 2023 coaching staff.

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The list does not include team presidents Mark Shapiro in Toronto and Jerry Dipoto in Seattle. Shapiro was 24 when he joined Cleveland’s player development system in 1991. Ten years later, he was the general manager. He became team president in 2010 and went to Toronto in 2015. Dipoto was a third-round pick by Cleveland in 1988, pitched for the team in 1993-94, and after an eight-year career, went into scouting and front-office work for several franchises.

Here are former Cleveland “products” scattered around the majors. Those listed with an asterisk (*) were part of Cleveland’s farm system but never played a home game along the shores of Lake Erie.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

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GM Mike Hazen; MGR *-Torey Lovullo, coaches Brent Strom, *-Tony Perezchica; RHPs Joe Mantiply, *-Cole Sulser and *-Carlos Vargas; LHP Kyle Nelson. Strom, a long-time pitching coach for numerous clubs, had a 2-10 record for Cleveland in 1973. Hazen is listed as Shawn Hazen as a minor leaguer. He worked his way up from intern in 2000 through the Cleveland player development system, became Red Sox general manager (2015-16) and has held the job in Arizona since 2017. Lovullo played six of his 303 career games for the Indians (1998) and managed in the Cleveland system (2002-09) before going to Boston. He has been Arizona’s manager since 2017.

Colorado Rockies

MGR Bud Black; coaches Mike Redmond, and Andy Gonzalez; LHP Brad Hand; OF Nolan Jones. Black had a 29-26 record for Cleveland (1988-90, 1995). The only other player here to make an impact was Hand (2018-20). The lefty compiled 58 saves and fanned 154 in 107 innings over 111 appearances.

Los Angeles Dodgers

MGR Dave Roberts; coaches Josh Bard and *-Clayton McCullough; OF *-Trayce Thompson. D-Rob bounced up and down from the minors to Cleveland (1999-01), then played for four other teams before guiding the Dodgers to greatness. Bard played in Cleveland (2002-05) and with four other clubs.

San Diego Padres

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Coaches Matt Williams and *-Ruben Niebla; LHP Drew Pomeranz. Williams walloped 378 homers in a 17-year career for four teams. He played one season (1997) for Cleveland, hitting 32 homers with 105 RBI and winning a gold glove at third base. Niebla served as a pitching coach for Cleveland farm teams (2001-12) and Pomeranz was a first-round pick in 2010. He was traded to Colorado while still a minor-leaguer and has now pitched for six teams.

San Francisco Giants

C Roberto Perez, “Beto”, was Cleveland’s 33rd-round pick in 2008. He played 490 games (2014-21) for Cleveland and won two gold gloves. He went to Pittsburgh as a free agent, got hurt and made the Giants this spring as a non-roster free agent.

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

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GM Carter Hawkins; coach Mike Napoli; RHP *-Julian Merryweather; C Yan Gomes. Napoli had his best season at age 34 in his only year (2016) in Cleveland. He had career highs of 34 homers and 105 RBI, helping the team to the World Series. Gomes hit 83 homers in six seasons (2012-18) in Cleveland. Hawkins played at Vanderbilt and joined the Cleveland organization as a scout in 2008. He found current all-star Jose Ramirez and worked his way up to assistant GM in 2016 and took the Cubs’ job last October.

Cincinnati Reds

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MGR David Bell, coach Collin Cowgill; LHP Alex Young; RHP Ian Gibaut; OF Will Benson. David’s dad Buddy Bell was a Cleveland fan favorite (1972-78) and played 18 years overall for four teams. He was the bench coach when David made his MLB debut for Cleveland in 1995. David was dealt to St. Louis to get pitcher Ken Hill for the 1995 stretch run and playoffs, then reacquired three years later. He was traded again and had some productive years for Seattle, San Francisco and Philadelphia. The other four played very little for Cleveland.

Milwaukee Brewers

INF Owen Miller. Acquired from San Diego in 2020, Miller had 10 homers as a reserve the past two years in Cleveland and was traded last December.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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MGR Derek Shelton; LHP Rich Hill; C Austin Hedges; 1B Carlos Santana; INF *-Mark Mathias. Santana hit 216 homers in 10 years (2010-17, 2019-20) in Cleveland. Hedges was the good-field, no-hit starter in town (2021-22). Shelton was a minor-league hitting instructor (2003-05) and replaced Eddie Murray as Cleveland hitting coach from midseason 2005 thru 2009. Hill has pitched 19 years in the majors. He was a one-and-done reliever in Cleveland in 2013. In 63 games, he worked only 38 2/3 innings, usually called upon to face one lefty hitter.

St. Louis Cardinals

Coaches Turner Ward and Julio Rangel; INF *-Jose Fermin. Ward was a reserve outfielder in 1989-90 for Cleveland. He has been a hitting coach for several big-league and minor-league teams. Rangel was a minor-league pitching coach for 11 years through 2017 for the Indians. Fermin, a promising fielder, was dealt this winter.

NL East

Atlanta Braves

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Coaches Sal Fasano, Eddie Perez, Kevin Seitzer and Ron Washington. All four played briefly for Cleveland. Most notable regarding their time in Cleveland has to be Washington in 1988. He and four teammates all became MLB managers. Dave Clark went 4-9 as Houston Astros interim boss in 2009. Bud Black has more than 1,000 wins leading San Diego (2007-15) and Colorado (2017-current). John Farrell managed Toronto (2011-12) and Boston (2013-17), finishing first three times with the Red Sox and capturing the World Series his first year. Washington managed Texas (2007-14) and took the Rangers to the World Series in 2010 and 2011.

One other guy from that 1988 club has fared rather well as a manager after a rocky start. He had four sub-.500 seasons in Philadelphia (1997-2000) but made the most of a second chance in Boston. From 2004-11, he had a .574 winning percentage and won the World Series in 2004 and again in 2007. Since 2013, he has a franchise-record 849 wins (through today) with a third team. Terry Francona, son of Cleveland fan favorite Tito Francona (1959-64), hit .311 in 62 games for those 1988 Indians. Who knew what was in store for him in town 30 years later?

Miami Marlins

RHP *-Nic Enright; INF *-Joey Wendle. Enright was lost in the Rule 5 Draft last December, while Wendle has hit .270 for three teams since 2016.

New York Mets

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MGR Buck Showalter, coaches Wayne Kirby, Joey Cora and*-Dom Chiti; RHPs Carlos Carrasco and Tommy Hunter, SS Francisco Lindor. Carrasco and Lindor were keys to Cleveland’s 2016 World Series team and dealt in January 2021 for four players, including Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario. Showalter was a senior advisor in the Cleveland system in 2007 between managerial stops in Texas and Baltimore. Kirby scored the winning run in the first game at Progressive Field in 1994 and has played or coached for more than 30 years. Cora concluded his 11-year playing career by playing 24 games for Cleveland in 1998.

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Chiti has been a scout or coach since 1982 for numerous teams. He handled both jobs for Cleveland in the late 80s (minors) and early 90s (majors). His father had the unique distinction of being traded for himself — by Cleveland. In April 1962, veteran catcher Harry Chiti was acquired from the Mets for a player to be named. He hit .335 at Triple-A Jacksonville, then in June was sent back to New York as “the player named” in the previous swap. The previous year, he was dealt from Detroit to Baltimore, hit .326 for the Orioles’ Triple-A team in Rochester, then traded to Cleveland. For all that fine hitting in the minors, he batted only .238 over 10 seasons for four teams but nver played a game for Cleveland.

Philadelphia Phillies

Coach *-Dusty Wathan. He played three games in the majors for Kansas City and 1,019 in the minors. That included 2003-05 in the Cleveland farm system.

Washington Nationals

Coach *-Tim Bogar; RHP *-Paolo Espino; OF Alex Call. Bogar managed Double-A Akron in 2006-07. Espino was in Cleveland’s farm system (2007-13) as was Call (2019-22). The outfielder played 12 games for Cleveland last year.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Coaches Jose Hernandez and *-Tony Mansolino; *-OF Anthony Santander. The Guardians lament Santander as “one who got away”. The slugging switch hitter was lost in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. Hernandez played three games for Cleveland in 1992 and 84 more in 2005. He also played for eight other MLB teams. Mansolino coached (2011-15) and managed (2016-19) in the Cleveland farm system and was third-base coach for the big-league team in 2020.

Boston Red Sox

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MGR Alex Cora; Coach Ramon Vazquez. RHP Corey Kluber, INFs Christian Arroyo and Yu Chang. Kluber won two Cy Young Awards and 113 games in a 258-game career in Cleveland (2011-19). Cora played 49 games for Cleveland in 2005 in the midst of a 14-year career. Vazquez was his teammate. Arroyo and Chang were reserve infielders the past couple years in Cleveland.

New York Yankees

MGR Aaron Boone; RHP *-Ian Hamilton and INF Josh Donaldson. Boone played in Cleveland (2005-06) during a 12-year career with six teams. Donaldson hit .280 with three homers in 16 games as a late-season pickup by Cleveland in 2018. He went 1-for-11 in the playoffs and signed a big contract with Atlanta, the fourth of six teams in his 13-year career.

Tampa Bay Rays

MGR Kevin Cash; RHPs Shawn Armstrong and *-Kevin Kelly; C Francisco Mejia; INF Yandy Diaz; OF Harold Ramirez. Cash was a Cleveland coach (2012-14) and was key in the Rays acquiring Diaz, Mejia and Ramirez. Those three have become key players in Tampa.

Toronto Blue Jays

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GM *-Ross Atkins; Coaches *-Mark Budzinski and *-Luis Rivera; RHP Adam Cimber. Atkins pitched in Cleveland’s farm system (1995-99), then worked his way up through the organization and went to Toronto in 2015. Budzinski played (1995-01) and managed (2014-17) in the Indians’ organization. He coached in Cleveland in 2018 and joined the Jays’ staff a year later. After 11 years as an MLB infielder, Rivera managed (2003-05) Cleveland farm teams, was the Indians’ first-base coach (2006-09), and has been on the Toronto staff since 2011. Cimber pitched in 118 games in relief for Cleveland (2018-20).

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Coach Chris Johnson; RHP Mike Clevinger. Johnson played 27 games in town in 2015. Clevinger had a 42-22 record for Cleveland (2016-20) and was dealt to San Diego with outfielder Greg Allen for Cal Quantrill, Josh Naylor, Gabriel Arias, Owen Miller, and Austin Hedges.

Detroit Tigers

C Eric Haase. A seventh-round pick in 2011, he rose through the Cleveland system and played 19 games for the Indians (2018-20). Sold to the Tigers, he crashed 36 homers overall the past two seasons.

Kansas City Royals

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OF Franmil Reyes. The big guy drove in 182 runs with 58 homers for Cleveland (2019-22). The bigger guy was released last summer when his weight soared and production dropped: .213 with 14 walks and 104 strikeouts.

Minnesota Twins

INF-OF *-Willi Castro. He was a slick-fielding infielder in Cleveland’s farm system (2014-18) and played 303 games for Detroit the past four years. Castro hit .349 in 2020, which is 106 points higher than his career average.

AL West

Houston Astros

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Coach Dan Firova; RHP Phil Maton; C *-Yainer Diaz; OF Michael Brantley. Don’t remember Firova? He played two innings as a defensive replacement at catcher for Cleveland in 1988 and has been a long-time coach at several spots. Brantley made more of an impact. He hit .295 for Cleveland (2009-18). The other two were dealt for Myles Straw in 2021. Diaz has a .321 career average in five years in the minors.

Los Angeles Angels

RHP Justin Garza; INF Gio Urshela. For seven years in the minors and three (2015-17) in Cleveland, Urshela was regarded as a great fielder struggling to hit. That changed big time in New York in 2019 when he hit .314 with 21 homers for the Yankees. He’s now with his fifth club. Garza went 2-1 in 21 gams in relief for Cleveland in 2021.

Oakland Athletics

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Coach Mike Aldrete; 1B Jesus Aguilar; OF *-Conner Capel. Aldrete played first base for seven teams, including Cleveland (1991) over 11 seasons and has coached for four clubs since 2001. Aguilar was a big slugger (2008-16) in Cleveland’s farm system but batted only .172 with zero homers in three brief trials in the bigs. Milwaukee claimed him on waivers and in 2018 he was an all-star, hitting .274 with 35 homers and 108 RBI. He is now with his fifth team in four years.

Seattle Mariners

Coach Manny Acta; OF *-Sam Haggerty. Manny managed Washington (2007-09) and Cleveland (2010-12) and has been on Seattle’s coaching staff since 2016. Haggerty, a 24th-round pick in 2014, stole 90 bases as an Indians farmhand (2014-18) and was dealt to the Mets. He is 23-for-25 on steals with a .230 career average in 145 MLB games.

Texas Rangers:


Friendly Faces

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The Guardians have added four former Cleveland players to their broadcasting team. Most notable is Pat Tabler, who will join Rick Manning and Matt Underwood for select TV games. Tabler did Blue Jays radio and TV broadcasts from 2001 through last season. He played for Cleveland (1983-88), the Cubs, Royals, Mets and Blue Jays from 1981 thru 1992. He was tremendous in bases-loaded situations during his career, going a remarkable 43-for-88 (.489).

Joining Al Pawlowski and Jensen Lewis for TV pregame and postgame shows are Ellis Burks and Chris Gimenez. Burks hit .287 in Cleveland (2001-03) and .291 overall with 352 homers overall for the Red Sox, White Sox, Rockies, Giants and Indians from 1987 thru 2004. Gimenez, drafted by Cleveland in the 19th round in 2004, had a 10-year career as a reserve catcher/outfielder/infielder/pitcher for six teams. He later coached for the Twins.

These former Cleveland players were recently released and are free agents looking for a team: RHP Bryan Shaw, White Sox; INF Ernie Clement, Athletics; OF Leonys Martin, Mariners; RHP Dominic Leone, Rangers; LHP Francisco Perez, Nationals.

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