New York Yankees: Ranking the 15 Best Trades in Bombers History

Doug RushSenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2012

New York Yankees: Ranking the 15 Best Trades in Bombers History

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    With the month of July, the theme is surrounded around the July 31 trade deadline.

    For me personally, I love the trade deadline because the action and movement involved is a lot of fun to follow and cover.

    It also gives many of us as writers a lot to write about and cover for this website.

    Last week, we covered the 10 worst trades made by the Yankees in their history. I brought up a lot of bad memories and bad dealings, but they had to be covered.

    Now, it's time for a happier story with better results attached to it.

    This one will now cover the best trades in Yankees history. Normally, I'd do 10, but 10 was too little to cover. After all, we are covering at least 90 years worth of history with these trades.

    This time, we're going to do the top 15 trades in the Yankees history.

    Sit back and enjoy.

15. Don Larsen

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    November 17, 1954: The Orioles trade Don Larsen for players to be named later.

    Don Larsen was only with the Yankees for five years and posted a 45-24 record from 1955-1959.

    Larsen is remembered for one perfect October day.

    On October 8, 1956 during Game 5 of the World Series, Larsen threw the first ever perfect game in Yankees history against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Larsen was named World Series MVP in 1956 as the Yankees went on to win 4-3.

    Larsen was also part of the 1958 Yankees team that won the World Series as well.

14. Bobby Abreu

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    July 30, 2006: Philadelphia Phillies trade Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle to the Yankees in exchange for CJ. Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez and Carlos Monasterios

    The Yankees needed a right fielder to take over for Gary Sheffield, who was on the shelf with a wrist injury. They also needed to add a starting pitcher because Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown were all on the DL as well.

    The Phillies were in rebuilding mode and needed to dump salary.

    So on the eve of the deadline, the Phillies unloaded Bobby Abreu and Corey Lidle to the Yankees for four low-level prospects.

    Abreu ended up being a really nice player for 2.5 years on the Yankees. In 2006, he hit .330 with seven home runs and 42 RBI, ending the season with a .297 average, 15 home runs and 107 RBI.

    The prospects the Yankees gave up never did anything for the Phillies, so they got solid production out of Abreu for almost nothing.

13. Nick Swisher

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    November 13, 2008: The Chicago White Sox trade Nick Swisher and Kaneoka Texeira to the Yankees in exchange for Wilson Betemit, Jeffrey Marquez and Jhonny Nunez

    After the end of a disastrous 2008 season, the Yankees decided to make big changes.

    One of the first moves they made was trading away Wilson Betemit to the White Sox and landed Nick Swisher.

    Swisher was originally going to be the first basemen until they brought in Mark Teixeira, then Swisher was moved to the outfield to be the backup for Xavier Nady.

    Once Nady went down with a season-ending injury, Swisher became the everyday right fielder and has had the job ever since.

    In the 3.5 years with the team, Swisher has averaged at least 20 home runs and 80 RBI and has been one of the most popular players with the fans of recent time.

12. David Justice

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    June 29, 2000: the Cleveland Indians trade David Justice to the Yankees in exchange for Jake Westbrook, Ricky Ledee and Zach Day.

    In the middle of the 2000 season, the Yankees really wanted a power bat to put in the middle of their lineup.

    The Yankees wanted to get Sammy Sosa from the Cubs, but the Yankees thought Chicago was asking for too much in a deal, so they made the deal with the Indians for David Justice.

    The 34-year old slugger was near the end of his career, but he still had a lot of power left in his bat.

    In 78 games with the Yankees in 2000, Justice hit 20 home runs and 60 RBI while batting .305, while helping the Yankees win the 2000 World Series over the Mets.

    In 2001, Justice only played in 111 games and hit .241 with 18 home runs and 51 RBI, but helped the Yankees get back to the 2001 World Series.

11. Curtis Granderson

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    December 8, 2009: The Yankees acquire Curtis Granderson. The Detroit Tigers acquire Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth. The Arizona Diamondbacks acquire Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson.

    Just a month after the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, they found a way to make their team even better by trading for a top-level center fielder.

    Granderson's first season in New York wasn't his best due to missing some of the season with a leg injury, but ever since, Granderson has been an MVP candidate.

    In 2011, Granderson hit 41 home runs and 119 RBI and finished fourth in the A.L. MVP voting.

    In 2012, Granderson is having another fine season, hitting 23 home runs and 48 RBI and will be starting for the American League All Star team.

    88 home runs in less than three years is outstanding production.

10. Scott Brosius

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    November 18, 1997: The Oakland A's trade Scott Brosius to the Yankees in exchange for Kenny Rogers

    Kenny Rogers had fallen out of favor with the Yankees and manager Joe Torre.

    Wade Boggs was at the end of his career and the Yankees needed a third basemen, so they made the deal wIith Oakland to land Scott Brosius.

    Brosius never hit more than 20 home runs and his career high in RBI was 98, but in the playoffs, Brosius came up in the clutch when the Yankees needed a big hit.

    In Game 3 of the 1998 World Series, Brosius hit the game-winning home run off Trevor Hoffman that put the Yankees ahead 3-0 in the series,

    Brosius won the 1998 World Series MVP Award after hitting .471 with two home runs and six RBI.

    In Game 5 of the 2001 World Series, Brosius hit a game-tying, two-run home run off Arizona closer Byung-Hyung Kim with two outs in the ninth inning.

    Brosius was nothing more than an average player, but he is forever beloved by Yankee fans for his big home runs in the clutch.

9. Tino Martinez

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    December 7, 1995: the Seattle Mariners trade Tino Martinez and Jim Mecir to the Yankees in exchange for Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock

    Don Mattingly retired after the 1995 season and the Yankees needed a replacement at first base, so the Yankees made the deal with the team that beat them in the ALDS and got Tino Martinez.

    What a steal Tino turned out to be over the course of his career with the Yankees. In his first season in New York, Martinez hit 25 home runs and 117 RBI and helped the Yankees to the 1996 World Series,

    In 1997, Martinez hit 44 home runs and 141 RBI and finished second in the A.L. MVP voting.

    Tino was also known for the dramatics with big hits.

    In Game 1 of the 1998 World Series, Martinez cranked out the go-ahead grand slam off Mark Langston that put the Yankees ahead for good.

    In Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, Martinez hit the game-tying, two-run home run in the ninth-inning off Byung-Hyung Kim, a game the Yankees won in the 11th inning.

    After departing as a free agent after the 2001 season, the Yankees brought Tino back for the 2005 season to be the starting first basemen with Jason Giambi transitioned to the DH role.

    In May, Martinez had a stretch where he hit five home runs in five games.

    Martinez is still one of the most popular Yankees to ever play in the Bronx.

8. Alex Rodriguez

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    February 16, 2004: the Texas Rangers trade Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees in exchange for Alfonso Soriano

    Just a few days before, Alex Rodriguez had been named captain of the Rangers after they nearly dealt him in the offseason to the Boston Red Sox for Manny Ramirez.

    Two days after Valentine's Day, the Rangers dealt him to the Yankees, who had just lost Aaron Boone to a broken leg a month earlier.

    A-Rod had to switch from shortstop to third base and change his number from 3 to 13, but he still had the impact in the Yankees lineup.

    He won the 2005 and 2007 A.L. MVP Awards and helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series by hitting .365 with six home runs and 18 RBI.

    The Yankees had to spend a fortune in December of 2007 to keep A-Rod as a free agent with a 10-year, $275 million deal.

    But he's also hit his 500th career home run as a part of the Yankees on August 4, 2007 and his 600th career home run for the Yankees on August 4, 2010, which are big milestones.

7. Roger Clemens

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    February 18, 1999: the Toronto Blue Jays trade Roger Clemens to the Yankees in exchange for David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd

    How does a team that won 125 games and the 1998 World Series get even better?

    Trade for the best strikeout pitcher in the game, which is what the Yankees did when they gave up their ace David Wells to get Roger Clemens.

    Clemens struggled in his first season; posting a 14-10 record with a 4.60 ERA, but Clemens got into a groove and went 2-1 in the postseason to help the Yankees win the 1999 World Series over the Braves; the very first of Clemens' career.

    Clemens again helped the Yankees win the 2000 World Series and in 2001, won the Cy Young Award by posting a 20-3 record with a 3.51 ERA as a 38-year old.

    After leaving in 2004 to join the Houston Astros, Clemens returned to the Yankees mid-season in 2007, but at age 44, wasn't the same pitcher everyone remembered in the Bronx.

6. Sparky Lyle

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    March 22, 1972: the Boston Red Sox traded Sparky Lyle to the Yankees in exchange for Danny Carter

    The Red Sox gave up too soon on a guy named Albert Lyle—who would transition into Sparky Lyle—who became a very good relief pitcher for the Yankees.

    In 1972, Lyle finished seventh in the Cy Young voting and third in the MVP voting with a 9-5 record, a 1.92 ERA, with 75 strikeouts in 107.2 innings.

    In 1977, Lyle went 13-5 with a 2.17 ERA and 26 saves; numbers that earned Lyle the 1977 A.L. Cy Young Award. Lyle was a key member of the Yankees that helped them win the 1977 World Series.

    Lyle also became the first reliever in baseball history to ever win the Cy Young Award.

    In 1978, the Yankees got Goose Gossage in free agency, which bumped Lyle out of the closer role, but still posted a 9-3 record with a 3.47 ERA.

5. Paul O'Neill

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    November 3, 1992: the Cincinnati Reds trade Paul O'Neill to the Yankees in exchange for Roberto Kelly

    Credit former Yankees GM Gene Michael for pulling off this trade, which helped changed the future and landscape of the Yankees franchise.

    In O'Neill's second season with the Yankees, he won the batting title with a .359 average, while hitting 21 home runs and 83 RBI and finished fifth in the A.L. MVP voting.

    Nicknamed by George Steinbrenner as "The Warrior," O'Neill was a major part of the Yankees winning four championships in five seasons.

    His passion was second to none and a couple of bat racks and water coolers felt O'Neill's wrath when he struck out or didn't get a hit.

    Paul O'Neill was everything the fans wanted in a Yankee player; he hustled, he came up with big hits, he played hurt and he really was the ultimate definition of a warrior.

    Since he retired in 2001, nobody has worn the number 21. LaTroy Hawkins tried to in 2008, but changed his jersey number after about a week.

4. David Cone

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    July 28, 1995: The Toronto Blue Jays trade David Cone to the Yankees in exchange for Jason Jarvis, Mike Gordon and Marty Janzen

    Back when teams actually dealt players from within the division, the Yankees should have been arrested for robbery on this deal.

    The Yankees got perhaps one of the most clutch pitchers in David Cone for players who never made it in the majors.

    All Cone did was help the Yankees to four World Series titles in five seasons.

    Oh, and let's not forget July 18, 1999 at Yankee Stadium against the Montreal Expos, pitching the third perfect game in Yankees history.

    Before helping the Yankees win four championships, Cone also helped the Blue Jays win the World Series in 1992.

    His career playoff record was 8-3 with a 2-0 record in the Fall Classic.

    Cone still gets some of the biggest ovations at Yankee Stadium during Old Timers Day for how big he pitched for the Yankees from 1995-2000.

3. Rickey Henderson

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    December 5, 1984: The Oakland A's trade Rickey Henderson and Bert Bradley to the Yankees in exchange for Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk and Jose Rijo.

    The Yankees gave up five players to land the best lead-off hitter in the game with Rickey Henderson.

    In his first season with the Bombers in the 1985 season, he hit 24 home runs, 72 RBI and stole 80 bases and finished third in the A.L. MVP voting.

    In 1986, 1988 and 1989, Henderson lead the league in stolen bases with the Yankees.

    Henderson was a part of the mid-1980's Yankees that used to score a lot of runs but never had great pitching to get them over the top and would never finish better than second place.

    The Yankees would trade Henderson back five years later to the same place that traded him, Oakland, where he played 14 of his 25 years in the majors.

    In 2009, Henderson was enshrined as a Hall of Famer in Coopertown, ending his career with 3,055 hits, 2,295 runs and 1,406 stolen bases while playing for nine different teams.

    His five-year tenure with the Yankees was the second longest with one team in his career.

2. Roger Maris

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    December 11, 1959: the Kansas City A's trade Roger Maris, Kent Hadley and Joe DeMaestri to the Yankees in exchange for Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, Marv Throneberry and Norm Siebern.

    The Yankees already had a potent lineup with Mickey Mantle, Moose Skowron, Yogi Berra and Elston Howard, but they traded for an up and coming star in Maris to make their team even more potent.

    Maris and Mantle formed one of the best one-two punches in the sport, known as the "M & M Boys," who spent their time together chasing the single-season home run record.

    Maris won the 1960 A.L. MVP Award in his first year with the Yankees, hitting .283 with 39 home runs and 112 RBI.

    In the 1961 season, Maris broke Babe Ruth's single-season record for home runs in a season with 61 home runs, a record he held until 1998.

    Maris again won the A.L. MVP Award in 1961 with his 61 home runs, 141 RBI.

    With the Yankees, Maris won the World Series with the team in 1961 and 1962. He also won the World Series again in 1967, but with the St. Louis Cardinals..

1. Babe Ruth

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    January 3, 1920: The Boston Red Sox trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees in exchange for $125,000

    Who else could be the best trade in Yankees history other than the greatest Yankee to ever play the game?

    Babe Ruth was already an established name with the Red Sox as both a pitcher and hitter, helping them win the World Series in 1915, 1916 and 1918.

    Then-Boston owner Harry Frazee decided to come out with a play that tanked and needed to finance it, and he had Ruth demanding a raise in pay, so in order to make back the money on the botched event, Frazee sent Ruth to the Yankees in exchange for money.

    In his first season with the Yankees, Ruth hit 54 home runs and 137 RBI, while batting .376.

    In 1923, Ruth hit 41 home runs and 131 RBI while batting .393 and won the A.L. MVP Award.

    In 1927, the team known as "Murderers' Row," Ruth set the record for most home runs in a season with 60.

    While as a member of the Yankees, Ruth won the World Series in 1923, 1927, 1928 and 1932.

    In the Fall Classic, Ruth hit .326 with 15 home runs and 33 RBI.

    Ruth hasn't played baseball since 1935 and died in 1948, but yet here we are, 77 years later and we still talk about "The Great Bambino."

    Babe Ruth not only saved baseball after The Black Sox Scandal of 1919, but he helped changed the entire fortune of the Yankees franchise.

    And he will go down as the best trade ever made in Yankees history.