In the fourth part of a multi-part series, we look at the trades the Yankees made starting from the 2004 offseason through the 2005 regular season. Trades are assessed not only on how each player fared on their successive teams (be it the Yankees or the team they are traded to), but also on any future deals those players were a part of.
The Yankees acquired outfielder Lawton from the Cubs before the waiver deadline for minor league pitcher Berg.
Lawton, who had been traded by the Pirates to Chicago just weeks before his arrival in New York, played in 21 games for New York. He posted an awful .125/.263/.250 line in those games; of his six hits, four were singles and two were home runs. He failed to make New York’s postseason roster and was released after the season. After catching on with the Mariners for 11 games in 2006, his MLB career was over.
Berg, a 43rd-round draft pick by the Yankees in 2003, eventually made his MLB debut for the Cubs in 2009. In 60 games in three seasons for Chicago, Berg was 0-1 with a 4.08 ERA. He was released by Chicago on November 2, but was re-signed to a minor league deal on November 15.
New York sent minor leaguers Sierra and Ramirez to the Rockies for former All-Star starting pitcher Chacon.
Chacon started a dismal 1-7 for the Rockies but rebounded in the Bronx, posting a 7-3 record and 2.85 ERA. He wasn’t able to sustain his success in pinstripes, and was traded to Pittsburgh for Craig Wilson at the 2006 deadline after going 5-3 with a 7.00 ERA in 17 games.
Sierra, a reliever, made it as high as Triple-A in his two seasons in the Rockies system. He also appeared at the Triple-A level in stints with the Dodgers and White Sox. After spending all of the 2009 season out of baseball, he reappeared in the Mexican League in 2010.
Ramirez, who won a World Series ring with the Giants last season, broke into the majors with the Rockies. He was traded to the Royals for a player to be named later, finishing his Rockies career at 6-5 with a 4.45 ERA in 83 games over two seasons. The player to be named later was Jorge de la Rosa, who is 39-26 with a 4.38 ERA in four seasons for the Rockies.
Quantrill was moved to the Padres for starters May and Redding midway through his second season in the Bronx.
In 2004, Quantrill pitched in a league leading 86 games, going 7-3 with a 4.72 ERA, but through 22 games in 2005, his ERA had hit 6.75. Quantrill was 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 22 games with the Padres, but was released at the end of August and finished the season with Florida.
For New York, this trade was the culmination of their desperation for starters. May pitched in two games for the Yankees, starting one. In seven innings across those two games, he allowed 13 runs, good for a 16.71 ERA. Redding fared even worse: in his only game for the Yankees, a one-inning start, Redding gave up six runs, four hits and four walks to complete a stat line featuring a 54.00 ERA. May’s career ended after his two-game Yankee stint, while Redding managed to start 45 more games, going 16-23, in three more MLB seasons.
The Yankees moved Prinz, who was 1-0 with a 5.93 ERA in 28 games for the Yankees over two seasons, to the Angels for minor league catcher Nieves just before the start of the 2005 season.
Prinz broke into the majors with Arizona in a stellar 2001 season, but was never able to post an ERA lower than 5.08 in the three seasons before the trade. Prinz went 0-1 in three games for the Angels and was released after the season. Prinz went through five organizations in the next three years, briefly appearing in the majors with the White Sox in 2007. He’s been out of professional baseball since 2009, when he appeared with the Somerset Patriots.
Nieves, who had broke into the majors with the Padres in 2002 and spent the next three years in Anaheim’s minor league system, hit just .141 in 35 games across three seasons for the Yankees before he was released in 2007. His release paved the way for Jose Molina’s acquisition. Nieves was able to catch on as a backup catcher after his release with the Nationals for two seasons and with the Brewers last year. He’ll start the 2012 season with the Rockies.
New York sent two prospects, 2004 All-Star Vazquez and cash to the Diamondbacks for the 41-year-old Johnson.
Halsey, who had gone 1-3 with a 6.47 ERA for the Yankees in 2004, went 8-12 with a 4.61 ERA in 2005, mostly as a starter. He was traded after the 2005 season to the A’s for Juan Cruz. He went 5-4 with a 4.67 ERA in 52 games and seven starts, but never played in the majors again.
Cruz was essentially taken off the scrap heap in Oakland after he went 0-3 with a 7.44 ERA in 2004. He played three seasons in Arizona, going 5-6 in his first season and finishing 10-1 in his last two as a full-time reliever. In three seasons in Phoenix, Cruz went 15-7 with a 3.47 ERA.
Navarro was immediately traded to the Dodgers as part of a deal for Shawn Green. In 273 games for the Diamondbacks, Green hit .285 with 33 home runs and 124 RBIs. He was traded to the Mets in 2006 for minor leaguer Evan McLane, who eventually made the majors with the Cardinals in 2010.
Vazquez, who finished his All-Star year 14-10 with a 4.91 ERA, went 11-15 with a 4.42 ERA in his only season in Arizona. The Diamondbacks traded Vazquez to the defending champion White Sox after the season for starter Orlando Hernandez, reliever Luis Vizcaino, and a minor league outfielder named Chris Young.
Hernandez was traded to the Mets for Jorge Julio after he went 2-4 with a 6.11 ERA in nine starts. Julio was 1-2 with a 3.83 ERA and 15 saves in 44 games. He was traded after the season to the Marlins for Yusmeiro Petit, who went 9-19 with a 5.05 ERA in 35 starts from 2007 to 2009.
Vizcaino was 4-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 70 games for Arizona, and was part of Johnson’s return deal to the Diamondbacks in 2007. Young, Arizona’s current starting outfielder, was named to his first All Star squad in 2010. In 784 games in six seasons for the Diamondbacks, Young has hit .240 with 118 home runs and 367 RBIs.
Johnson went 17-9 with a 3.79 ERA in his first season in pinstripes, but allowed a career-high 32 home runs. He had a similar 17-11 record in 2006, but his ERA ballooned to a career-high 5.00. His 172 strikeouts were the lowest number since his injury-riddled 2003 campaign and the lowest full-season total since his rookie season in 1989. Johnson was traded back to the Diamondbacks at the end of the 2006 season, where he pitched for two more seasons before ending his career with the Giants.
The Yankees traded outfielder Lofton to the Phillies for veteran reliever Rodriguez in a switch for seemingly aging veterans.
Lofton, who hit .275 with three home runs, 18 RBIs, and seven triples in 83 games for the Yankees in 2004, had an incredible bounce-back year with Philadelphia. He would hit .335 in 110 games for the Phillies, the second-highest average of his career, to go along with two home runs, 36 RBIs and five triples. He also stole 22 bases for the Phillies, compared to seven for the Yankees. He parlayed his success in Philadelphia into a starting role for two more seasons—first with the Dodgers in 2006, and then with the Rangers and Indians in 2007.
Rodriguez was dealt by San Francisco, where he had pitched since 1999, at the deadline to Philadelphia (for two players, one of them former Yankee Ricky Ledee). With the Phillies, he was 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 23 games. He had a 5.01 ERA in 34 games for the Yankees and was released after the season, signing with the Nationals. He pitched one season for the Nationals, in which he compiled a career-high 7.67 ERA, ending his career after that.
Heredia was acquired by the Yankees in 2003 and played well enough (1.20 ERA in 12 games) to stick around in 2004. However, a 6.28 ERA in 47 games in that season facilitated his exit and the return of Mike Stanton—who had won three World Series rings from 1998 to 2000 in the Bronx—from the New York Mets.
Heredia would only pitch in three games for the Mets before a season-ending injury, which would end his MLB career. Stanton wasn’t any better: the Yankees released him midway through the 2005 season after he ran up a 7.07 ERA in 28 games.
Stanton subsequently signed with the Nationals, where he had a much more respectable 3.58 ERA in 30 games. Washington traded him to the Red Sox with three days left in the 2005 season. He made a return to Washington to start the 2006 season, moving on to San Francisco at mid-season and then Cincinnati in the offseason, where he ended his career after the 2007 season.
Although they aren’t technically trades, there’s still a place for these conditional deals somewhere:
New York acquired Leiter from the Florida Marlins in a conditional deal in July 2005. He had history with both teams–he pitched parts of three seasons in the late 1980s with the Yankees, who drafted him in the second round in 1984, and he won a World Series title with the Marlins in 1997. He struggled in his return to Florida after the Mets released him at the end of the 2004 season.
In 16 starts for the Marlins, Leiter went 3-7 with a 6.64 ERA. His return to New York wasn’t any different: Leiter was 4-5 with a 5.49 ERA in 10 starts and six relief outings. It would end up being his final professional season, as Leiter retired in the middle of spring training in 2006.
New York acquired Thurston from the Dodgers on a conditional deal in July 2005. The second baseman never appeared for the Yankees at the MLB level. In the 29 games he played at Triple-A Columbus, the .234/.287/.374 line he posted was the worst of his minor league career.
After stints in the minors with Philadelphia, Washington and Boston (and brief MLB call-ups with Philadelphia and Boston) he caught on as a regular player with the St. Louis Cardinals for a season. Since then, stops at Atlanta and Florida have yielded just one appearance in an MLB game. He’ll start the 2012 season in camp for the Houston Astros.
New York sent a 40-year-young Groom to Arizona midway through the 2005 season amid controversy over remarks he made about manager Joe Torre. A longtime reliever with the A’s and Orioles, 2005 was Groom’s first season in the Bronx. With New York, Groom went 1-0 with a 4.91 ERA in 24 appearances. With the Diamondbacks, he went 0-1 with a 4.70 ERA in 23 games. He was released after the season, ending his MLB career.