President Von der Ahe has about given up all hope of being able to make a deal with the Cleveland and Cincinnati Clubs for the "transfer" of several of their extra players to this city. He has now turned his attention toward the Eastern clubs, and at the coming meeting of the League magnates in Baltimore he will endeavor to make a trade of some kind for a second baseman and a shortstop.
...With two new infielders and a little strengthening in the pitching department the Browns may manage to keep out of last hole this year. Otherwise they are doomed to that position, sure.
-Sporting Life, February 20, 1897
In 1897, the Browns finished twenty-three and a half games out of eleventh place. If they had brought in Kid Nichols, Hugh Jennings, and George Davis, they probably would have escaped the cellar. Maybe. And I don't even want to contemplate what you'd have to bring in to make up the sixty-four games they'd need to win the pennant.