The Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres are quite familiar with one another when it comes to trades.
Just last year the two teams swung a deal that sent Mike Clevinger out west in exchange for six players.
OFFICIAL: Mike Clevinger on the move as Indians and Padres complete trade pic.twitter.com/h23Ns3tWbb
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) August 31, 2020
Before that, the two teams were involved in a three-team deal with Trevor Bauer as the centerpiece.
The two latest hauls from San Diego have yet to produce a major star in Cleveland.
However, there is plenty of potential from the two trades and someone like Franmil Reyes already looks like a future All-Star.
And don’t forget about young prospect Gabriel Arias.
History is also on the Indians’ side as they have truly stolen some top talent from the Padres in the past.
Three players in particular stand out, and we are only talking about two total trades.
3. Carlos Baerga
The Indians were building something special in the early 1990s and Carlos Baerga was a key piece for the team in the infield.
San Diego signed him as a teenager and developed him for years, only to trade him to Cleveland in a deal for Joe Carter.
The Padres ended up flipping him again a year later.
Meanwhile, the Indians landed a future three-time All-Star in Baerga who ended up winning two Silver Sluggers during his first stint in Cleveland from 1990-1996.
He returned briefly in 1999, but his true value came during that first stint when the Indians finally returned to relevance.
All the Cleveland front office had to do was trade Carter, who had no place on that 1990 team anyway if the goal was to rebuild.
2. Sandy Alomar Jr.
Want to talk about a heist?
The Indians acquired Sandy Alomar Jr. in the Carter deal as well.
That’s right, the Padres sent both Baerga and Alomar to the Indians before the 1990 season.
All for one season of Carter.
Of course, Alomar became a franchise legend.
He was named Rookie of the Year in 1990 and made six All-Star Games from 1990-2000.
Alomar was a foundational piece for a decade and it is all thanks to some great scouting by the Indians front office.
1. Corey Kluber
The heists continue as the Indians landed Corey Kluber in a three-team deal with the Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.
All the Indians had to do was send Jake Westbrook to St. Louis, and in return Kluber came over from San Diego.
So overall, the Padres got Ryan Ludwick in exchange for a future two-time Cy Young winner.
Everyone is bagging on the Indians for trading Corey Kluber to shave payroll, and they’re right to do so. But can we spare a couple minutes to laugh at the Padres for trading Kluber to get Ryan Ludwick?
— Grant Brisbee (@GrantBrisbee) December 15, 2019
Kluber is one of the best pitchers in Indians history and it cost the franchise nothing to land him.
All it took was a little bit of scouting and faith he would turn out to be a suitable starter.
No one could have foreseen the pitcher he would become.
It remains fascinating that the Padres continue to send the Indians prospects after this history of being swindled.
But no one in Cleveland is complaining.