When the 1997 season was over Ben McDonald had already had a pretty interesting baseball career. He's a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame for his pitching accomplishments at LSU and was a member the Gold Medal-winning USA team in the 1988 Seoul Olympics before being the #1 overall pick in the 1989 draft. He debuted in the majors as a 21-year-old in 1989 and had pitched nine major league seasons, posting a 3.91 ERA over 211 appearances.
McDonald had been a part of a five-player deal that brought outfielder Marquis Grissom to Milwaukee, but never appeared in a game for Cleveland. Earlier in the spring he had unsuccessful surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and would never pitch in the majors again.
In his place the Brewers sent reliever Mark Watson to Cleveland. He went on to appear in just eleven games as a member of three teams between 2000-03.