Friday was a difficult day for Cleveland Indians fans who were hopeful that the 2021 season was still a race between the Tribe and White Sox for the AL Central Title.
Instead, the Indians not only went the other direction with the deals they made, they also ended the deadline already having lost their manager - Terry Francona - for the rest of the year due to health problems.
Gone are Cesar Hernandez, Eddie Rosario, Yanier Diaz and Phil Maton, along with Jordan Luplow and DJ Johnson.
The return back is not much - Houston sent the Tribe OF Myles Straw (.262 (85-for-325) with 13 doubles, 2 HR and 34 RBI), and the Rays sent 23-year-old prospect Peyton Battenfield.
Battenfield has split the 2021 season between High-A Bowling Green and Double-A Montgomery, going 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 14 games/12 starts (67.1IP, 42H, 16ER, 12BB, 95SO, 12.7SO/9.0IP, .171 avg).
Bottom line, this was a cash dump with the team looking to save money for the rest of 2021, while already looking at 2022 to be more stable.
The biggest loss for this team though wasn't any of those players, most of which were underperforming and injured anyway, the biggest loss is Francona, who for the second straight year won't be with the team when the final pitch is thrown for the season.
For those that want to be critical of Francona and his coaching style, MLB Network's Jon Morosi tweeted out the following about Francona and the success he's had in Cleveland.
As Terry Francona steps aside from managing from health reasons, some perspective on what he's achieved in Cleveland: The Indians are 723-568 since he took over the team in 2013. Only the Dodgers have a higher winning percentage among all MLB teams in that span.
It's amazing to me that people will still criticize Francona despite working with what is mostly a banged up, minor league roster that has been actually working hard and showing heart all season just to be 6.5 games back in the wild card.
They are 9 back of the White Sox, an amount that likley is too much to overcome even with two months left in the season. The fact that the club moved Hernandez to their biggest rival shows that the white flag is being raised on 2021.
Sure a wild card birth would be fun as anytime your team can get a playoff birth it's exciting, but at the end of the day the most important thing is growth, but also the health of Francona and his return in 2022 for the final year of his contract.
Many Tribe fans for whatever reason are so ready to jump on Francona for certain decisions, they forget the days of managers like Eric Wedge (561-573), Manny Acta (214-266), Pat Corrales (280-355), and Doc Edwards (102-137).
Francona is second all-time in manager wins for the Indians, trailing only Hall of Famer Lou Bouerdau, who checks in with 728 wins, only five more than Francona, who clearly should take over that top spot upon his return in 2022.
It's tough to appreciate what you have when you have it sometimes, and it feels like that with Francona. He's taken a lot of players who maybe wouldn't be as successful with another organization.
A couple names that come to mind that who knows what would have happened to them should they be elsewhere are Jose Ramirez, Shane Bieber and Roberto Perez.
Ramirez has been the best player offensively the last few seasons for the Tribe, and last season was right there in the AL MVP voting, hitting .292 with 17 homers and 46 RBI.
Perez has had a tough year and a half with injuries, but a few years back in 2019 he was not only his usual steady self behind the plate, he also showed when healthy that he's got power at the plate, hitting a career-high 24 homers with a career-high 63 runs batted in.
Everyone knows about the type of seasons Beiber has had the last few, from winning the MVP of the All-Star game in his home stadium two years ago, to winning the Cy Young with an 8-1 mark a year ago with a 1.63 ERA. He also led the AL in K's.
The influence of Francona can't be denied. The last time the Indians went youth, they called up some guy named Francisco Lindor.
The year was 2015, Lindor came to the team from the minors and was a star right away, hitting .313 with 12 homers and 51 runs batted in. He has been a star ever since, and despite now making his home in New York with the Mets, Lindor's time in Cleveand can only be considered a success.
Again, the influence of Francona and what he's brought to the team in the 723 wins he's been a part of cannot be denied.
Here's hoping and praying that Francona's health will be strong enough for him to be back on the bench next season.
With his contract done after 2022, it very well could be his last.