MLB Trade Deadline: The 50 Dumbest Trades in Baseball History
The 2012 MLB trade deadline is drawing ever nearer, as there promises to be a flurry of action in the weeks to come leading up to the July 31 deadline.
It's a time when contenders look to shore up their rosters for a postseason push and sellers look to acquire young players they can build around moving forward.
Every trade comes with a certain amount of risk, and there are inevitably some deals where a team makes a horrible, regrettable move.
In compiling this list, I looked for two types of deals: trades that were dumb from the get-go and trades that are dumb in hindsight.
Many times, it is unclear who the winner and loser of a trade are until years after the deal takes place, but sometimes there is a clear winner from the start.
Without giving too much away, here are some examples of what I'm talking about. The Devil Rays trading 23-year-old Bobby Abreu for light-hitting shortstop Kevin Stocker was dumb from the start. The Tigers trading John Smoltz for pitcher Doyle Alexander, who would go 9-0 down the stretch and help the team make the postseason, worked out in the short-term but was a dumb move in hindsight.
So with that in mind, here is my take on the 50 dumbest trades in MLB history, and we'll have a whole fresh batch of deals to potentially add to this list in the weeks to come.
Senators Send Dean Chance to Angels for Joe Hicks
Photo Credit: Topps
Date: Dec. 14, 1960
Senators: OF Joe Hicks
A 28-year-old backup outfielder, Joe Hicks was acquired by the Angels from the White Sox with the 42nd pick in the 1960 Expansion Draft. They then flipped him to the Senators for Dean Chance, and his career lasted three more uneventful years before he retired with a career line of .221 BA, 12 HR, 39 RBI.
Angels: SP Dean Chance
In trading for 20-year-old Chance, the Angels found a young pitcher to be a staple in the staff of their fledgling team. He joined the rotation for the 1962 season and finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. In total, he went 74-66 with a 2.83 ERA in six seasons with the Angels, winning the Cy Young in 1964 when he went 20-9 with a league-best 1.65 ERA.
Yankees Send Jay Buhner to Mariners for Ken Phelps
Jeff Carlick/Getty Images
Date: July 21, 1988
Yankees: DH Ken Phelps
With 98 home runs in four of his final four-and-a-half seasons with the Mariners, 33-year-old Ken Phelps was a proven home run threat when the Yankees traded for him at the deadline and he had 10 HR and 22 RBI in 45 games. The following season he was traded to the Athletics for a career minor-leaguer.
Mariners: RF Jay Buhner, SP Rich Balabon, SP Troy Evers
Buhner served as a part-time player for two years following the trade, before taking over the Mariners' starting right field job in 1991. In all, he played 14 seasons with the Mariners and hit .255 BA, 307 HR and 951 RBI as one of the most feared power hitters of the 1990s.
Mariners Send Omar Vizquel to Indians for Reggie Jefferson
David Maxwell/Getty Images
Date: Dec. 20, 1993
Mariners: DH Reggie Jefferson, SS Felix Fermin, Cash
The Indians sent Reggie Jefferson, a 24-year-old DH with some power potential and Felix Fermin, an average all-around shortstop who could take Vizquel's place, to the Mariners.
Neither did much in Seattle, and were not with the team two years later as the Mariners essentially got nothing for Vizquel.
Indians: SS Omar Vizquel
Coming off the first Gold Glove of his career, Vizquel was already considered one of the top defensive shortstops in all of baseball, but with a .252 career average, the Mariners decided they could stand to trade him.
Vizquel soon became the Ozzie Smith of the American League, and his offense improved as well. In 11 total seasons with the Indians, he hit .283 and stole 279 bases while capturing an impressive eight more Gold Gloves.
Rays (via Astros) Send Bobby Abreu to Phillies for Kevin Stocker
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Date: Nov. 18, 1997
Rays: SS Kevin Stocker
With the sixth pick in the 1998 Expansion Draft, the newly-formed Devil Rays selected 23-year-old outfielder Bobby Abreu from the Astros.
However, that same day they flipped him to the Phillies for Stocker, who would serve as the team's starting shortstop and hit all of .208 before retiring two years later at the age of 30.
Phillies: RF Bobby Abreu
Abreu immediately stepped into a starting role with the Phillies and hit .312 BA, 17 HR, 74 RBI and 19 SB in his first season of full-time action.
He would only get better from there, and in nine seasons in Philadelphia he hit .303 BA, 195 HR, 814 RBI and 254 SB, including a pair of 30-30 seasons, as he was one of the game's best all-around offensive players.
Rangers Send Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young to Padres for Adam Eaton
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Date: Jan. 6, 2006
Rangers: SP Adam Eaton, RP Akinori Otsuka, C Billy Killian
After winning 11 games in back-to-back seasons, Adam Eaton had established himself as a serviceable starter by the time he was dealt to the Rangers but spent just one unimpressive season with the team before leaving in free agency.
The bigger acquisition was Akinori Otsuka, who stepped into the Rangers' closer role and saved 32 games with a 2.11 ERA in his first season with the team. He served as a setup man the next season before going back to Japan.
Padres: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SP Chris Young, OF Terrmel Sledge
A former No. 1 overall pick, Adrian Gonzalez spent time with two teams before finally finding a home with the Padres. In five seasons with the team, he averaged a line of .288 BA, 32 HR, 100 RBI before being traded to the Red Sox for a solid prospect package.
Chris Young was 27 years old at the time of the trade, coming off his first full season in the Rangers' rotation. He spent five seasons in San Diego, going 33-25 with a 3.60 ERA and is currently pitching for the Mets.
Pirates Send Jose Bautista to Blue Jays for Robinzon Diaz
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Date: Aug. 21, 2008
Blue Jays: OF/3B Jose Bautista
From 2006-2008, Bautista served as the Pirates' primary utility player, averaging 434 at-bats per season and showing decent run production skills given his position as he averaged 15 HR and 56 RBI.
It was much of the same in his first full season with the Blue Jays, as he hit .235 BA, 13 HR, 40 RBI in a similar role. However, something clicked in 2010 and at the age of 29 Bautista was suddenly the most feared slugger in baseball.
He hit 54 HR with 124 RBI that season, and followed it up with a .302 BA, 43 HR, 103 RBI season last year. His numbers are down a bit this season, but he still has a .244 BA, 27 HR, 65 RBI line so far this year. He has been a late-bloomer the likes of which the league has never seen.
Pirates: C Robinzon Diaz
Originally dealt for a player soon to be named, Diaz became that player four days later.
He spent some time as the Pirates' backup catcher in 2009, hitting .279 BA, 1 HR, 19 RBI, but he has not seen the big leagues since. He spent time in the Tigers and Rangers organizations and is now in Triple-A for the Angels.
Athletics Send Andre Ethier to Dodgers for Milton Bradley
Harry How/Getty Images
Date: Dec. 13, 2005
Athletics: RF Milton Bradley, UT Antonio Perez
Looking to win now, the Athletics were in need of an outfielder heading into 2006 with Bobby Kielty gone, and they made a deal for Milton Bradley of the Dodgers. He was coming off a .290 BA, 13 HR, 38 RBI season and had proven to be injury-prone, but had also shown terrific on-base skills and was an impact bat when healthy.
Dodgers: RF Andre Ethier
Taken in the second round of the 2003 MLB Draft, Ethier was the 89th overall prospect heading into the 2006 season after a .317 BA, 18 HR, 82 RBI performance the previous season between Double-A and Triple-A.
After 25 games at Triple-A, he was called up to the Dodgers and went on to hit .308 BA, 11 HR, 55 RBI and finish fifth in NL Rookie of the Year voting.
He has since become one of the best hitters in the NL and recently earned a a six-year, $95.95 million extension that will keep him with the Dodgers through 2017.
Mariners Send Adam Jones to Orioles for Erik Bedard
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Date: February 8th, 2008
Orioles: CF Adam Jones, SP Chris Tillman, RP George Sherrill, RP Kameron Mickolio, SP Tony Butler
Jones entered the 2007 season at the No. 28 prospect according to Baseball America, and he lived up to the hype with a .314 BA, 25 HR, 84 RBI season as a 21-year-old at Triple-A. He was undoubtedly the marquee prospect of the package, and he has blossomed into a legitimate superstar and the face of the Orioles franchise in earning a seven-year, $91.65 million extension.
Tillman was also a highly-regarded prospect and he spent parts of each of the last three seasons in the Orioles' rotation, going a combined 7-15 with a 5.58 ERA in 36 starts. He's still just 24 years old, but his window in Baltimore may be closing.
As far as immediate impact for the Orioles, Sherrill stepped into the closer's role and made the All-Star team in 2008 when he saved 31 games.
Mariners: SP Erik Bedard
It was never a question of talent with Bedard, but health as he has battled injuries throughout his career. Because of that, the Orioles decided to sell high with Bedard coming off the best season of his career in 2007, when he went 13-5, 3.16 ERA, 221 Ks to finish fifth in AL Cy Young voting.
He pitched effectively when healthy for the Mariners but managed just 15 starts each in 2008 and 2009 before missing the entire 2010 season with a torn labrum.
Athletics Send Carlos Gonzalez, Huston Street to Rockies for Matt Holliday
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Date: Nov. 10, 2008
Athletics: LF Matt Holliday
Following a fantastic five-year stretch, the Rockies made Matt Holliday available and the Athletics put together a package they could not turn down. However, he spent just 93 games with the A's before being dealt again to the Cardinals, as the A's essentially flipped the below players for St. Louis prospect Brett Wallace.
Rockies: CF Carlos Gonzalez, CP Huston Street, SP Greg Smith
Replacing someone like Holliday is never easy, but the Rockies struck gold when they acquired Carlos Gonzalez as he exploded for a monster season in 2010 and earned a big extension through 2017.
Street, a former first-round pick and AL Rookie of the Year, stepped into the closer's role for the Rockies and saved 84 games in three seasons while posting a 3.50 ERA.
Marlins Send Derrek Lee to Cubs for Hee-Seop Choi
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Date: Nov. 25, 2003
Marlins: 1B Hee-Seop Choi, SP Mike Nannini
A former top prospect with tremendous power potential, Choi opened the 2003 season as the Cubs' starting first baseman and an NL Rookie of the Year favorite.
However, a collision with Kerry Wood ended his season and his time in Chicago. He opened the 2004 season as the Marlins' starting first baseman and played well, hitting .270 BA, 15 HR, 40 RBI in 95 games before he was traded again to the Dodgers. He was out of the league the following year.
Cubs: 1B Derrek Lee
A little over a month after watching Lee advance past the Cubs and win a World Series with the Marlins, Lee joined the team in one of the most lopsided moves in recent memory.
Lee gave the Cubs stability at first base and in the middle of the order, hitting ..298 BA, 179 HR, 574 RBI in parts of seven seasons with the team.
His was never better than his 2005 season, as he hit .335 BA, 46 RBI, 107 RBI to take home the NL batting title while also leading the league with 199 hits and 50 doubles.
Astros Send Kenny Lofton to Indians for Ed Taubensee
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Date: Dec. 10, 1991
Astros: C Ed Taubensee, RP Willie Blair
In a prospect-for-prospect trade, the Astros picked up 22-year-old catcher Ed Taubensee, but after three seasons as a backup he was traded to Reds where he became a legitimate starter. Blair was an average reliever who spent one season in Houston before being taken by the Rockies in the Expansion Draft.
Indians: CF Kenny Lofton, UT Dave Rohde
A 24-year-old speedster who made his debut in 1991 with a 20-game cup of coffee, Lofton was one of the top prospects in baseball heading into the 1992 season as he opened the year as the Indians' center fielder. He hit .285 and stole 66 bases to lead the AL as a rookie and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.
He went on to be a staple at the top of the Indians' rotation, leading the league in steals in each of his first four seasons. He spent eight of the first nine seasons of his career in Cleveland, making a one-year stop in Atlanta, and he goes down as one of the best lead-off hitters in recent memory.
Indians Send Brandon Phillips to Reds for Jeff Stevens
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Date: Apr. 7, 2006
Indians: RP Jeff Stevens
Stevens never pitched for the Reds, and saw his only big league action as a member of the Cubs from 2009-2011 when he appeared in a total of 33 games and posted a 6.27 ERA.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips
Acquired in the Bartolo Colon deal with the Expos, Phillips joined the Indians as one of the top prospects in baseball, and after struggling in semi-regular at-bats in 2003 he played in just 12 total big-league games over the next two seasons.
When the Reds acquired him early in the 2006 season, they immediately plugged him in as their starting second baseman and he hit .276 BA, 17 HR, 75 RBI.
In five full seasons since, he has averaged a line of .280 BA, 21 HR, 82 RBI, 22 SB as one of the best offensive second basemen in the league. He's also won three Gold Gloves in that time and made a pair of All-Star appearances.
Orioles Send Steve Finley, Curt Schilling to Astros for Glenn Davis
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Date: Jan. 10, 1991
Orioles: 1B Glenn Davis
After six successful seasons with the Astros in which Davis hit 164 home runs, the Orioles dealt three of their top young prospects to acquire the then-30-year-old slugger.
The move proved to be ill-advised to say the least, as Davis hit a combined .247 BA, 24 HR, 85 RBI over three seasons in Baltimore before retiring.
Astros: SP Curt Schilling, CF Steve Finley, SP Pete Harnisch
Meanwhile, the Astros got a starting center fielder in Finley who spent four seasons with the team and eventually became one of the game's top center fielders.
They also got a solid starting pitcher in Harnisch, who won 45 games in his four seasons with the team and 111 over his 14-year career.
The big name of the deal, however, was Schilling and while he spent just one season with the team before being traded to the Phillies, the big picture is that the Orioles could have had all three of these players if they would have developed them rather than making this trade.
Athletics Send Mark McGwire to Cardinals for Mathews, Ludwick and Stein
Date: Jul. 31, 1997
Athletics: RP T.J. Mathews, SP Eric Ludwick, SP Blake Stein
Credit the A's with being proactive in moving the free-agent-to-be McGwire, who they did not expect to re-sign, but it is hard to believe this trio was the best they could get in return for the slugger.
Mathews proved to be the only player of use, as he made over 50 relief appearances three different times for the A's, while the other two provided virtually nothing.
Cardinals: 1B Mark McGwire
McGwire went on to smash 24 home runs in 51 games after the trade to reach 58 on the season in 1997, and he followed that up with his legendary 70-home-run campaign in 1998.
In total, McGwire hit .270 BA, 220 HR, 473 RBI in parts of five seasons with the Cardinals before retiring and he now serves as the team's hitting coach.
Angels Acquire Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli
Harry How/Getty Images
Date: Jan. 21, 2011
Angels: OF Vernon Wells
$190,000. That was roughly what the Angels paid Wells per hit last season on his way to a .218 BA, 25 HR, 66 RBI season.
I don't think anyone will ever quite understand what the Angels were thinking with this one, and it's only getting worse.
With Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout and Torii Hunter manning the outfield, he's contributed a .244 BA, 6 HR, 12 RBI line so far this season and could very well become a major distraction once he returns from injury to a role on the bench.
Blue Jays: C Mike Napoli, OF Juan Rivera
Forget for a minute that the Blue Jays opted to trade Napoli to the Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco, where he went on to have a terrific season and helped get Texas to the World Series.
This is a win for the Blue Jays regardless. Somehow, some way, they managed to find a way to unload the remaining four years and $84.2 million that were due to the declining Wells.
Giants Send Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano to Twins for A.J. Pierzynski
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Date: Nov. 14, 2003
Giants: C A.J. Pierzynski, Cash
With Joe Mauer ready to go, the Twins made A.J. Pierzynski available and coming off a .312 BA, 11 HR, 74 RBI season. He was in demand. The Giants pulled the trigger on a big deal and he had another solid season, hitting .272 BA, 11 HR, 72 RBI, but got into it with teammates and coaches and ended up being released as the trade turned out to be a disaster.
Twins: CP Joe Nathan, SP Francisco Liriano, SP Boof Bonser
At the time of the trade, Nathan was a 28-year-old reliever who was coming off a season in which he made 78 appearances and went 12-4 with a 2.96 ERA as a middle reliever. Upon his arrival in Minnesota, he was immediately made closer. He saved 44 games in his first season, and 260 games with a 2.16 ERA in total over his seven seasons with the team.
Liriano was the big prospect of the deal. He went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA as a 22-year-old rookie, taking baseball by storm. He underwent Tommy John surgery the following season, though, and has been up-and-down since then. He's been solid of late, and could wind up being one of the bigger acquisitions of the deadline.
Padres Send Fred McGriff to Braves for Melvin Nieves
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Date: Jul. 18, 1993
Padres: OF Melvin Nieves, RP Donnie Elliott, OF Vince Moore
With the Padres looking to shed some payroll at the deadline in 1993, they moved their top hitter Fred McGriff and his $4-million salary to the Braves for a trio of prospects.
Among them were two of the team's top 10 prospects in outfielder Melvin Nieves (39th-ranked prospect in baseball) and pitcher Donnie Elliott, as well as outfielder Vince Moore.
Nieves never panned out and was eventually sent to the Tigers, where he had a pair of 20-home-run seasons. Elliot spent one season in the Padres' bullpen with a 3.27 ERA over 30 games in 1994. Moore never saw the big leagues.
Braves: 1B Fred McGriff
Looking for a spark at the deadline, McGriff proved to be exactly what the Braves needed. He hit .310 BA, 19 HRs and 55 RBI in 68 games with the Braves and the team went 51-17 after the trade.
That earned them a playoff spot, but they were bounced in the first round by the Phillies.
The Braves would have McGriff for five seasons total, as he hit 130 home runs and made three All-Star teams during his time in Atlanta, helping the team to the playoffs each season, sans the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.
Pirates Send Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton to Cubs for Jose Hernandez, Bobby Hill
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Date: Jul. 23, 2003
Pirates: SS Jose Hernandez, 2B Bobby Hill, SP Matt Bruback
Really, no one that the Pirates got in this deal was worth Lofton, let alone an emerging young slugger like Ramirez.
Hernandez was released at season's end and bounced around three more seasons, while Bruback never reached the majors and eventually wound up back in the Cubs organization.
Hill was the only piece with potential value the Pirates acquired, but he never seized a starting job and was out of the league by 2005.
Cubs: 3B Aramis Ramirez, CF Kenny Lofton
Lofton gave the Cubs an immediate boost as a playoff-experienced veteran and lead-off hitter, as he hit .327 with a dozen steals down the stretch to help the team make the postseason. He was gone in the offseason, but he more than served his purpose in the deal.
Ramirez was the real prize though, as he shored up a position that had been a revolving door in Chicago since the days of Ron Santo.
His signing with the Brewers this past offseason brought to an end his time with the Cubs, but in nine seasons he hit .294 BA, 239 HR, 806 RBI and made a pair of All-Star teams as one of the better run producers in the league.
Indians Send Norm Cash to Tigers for Steve Demeter
Photo Credit: SABR
Date: Apr. 12, 1960
Indians: 3B Steve Demeter
Demeter went 2-for-18 in 11 games with the Tigers as a rookie in 1959, and he went 0-for-5 in four games with the Indians in 1960 before riding off into the sunset.
Tigers: 1B Norm Cash
With limited big-league action under his belt, Cash immediately stepped into a starting role for the Tigers and quickly became one of the most productive sluggers of the 1960s.
His second season with the Tigers was his best, as he set career-highs across the board with a line of .361 BA, 41 HR, 132 RBI, winning the batting title and leading the AL with 198 hits.
In his 15 seasons with the Tigers, Cash topped the 20-HR mark an impressive 11 times on his way to a stat line of .272 BA, 373 HR, 1087 RBI. He goes down as one of the best players in team history.
Reds Send Paul Konerko to White Sox for Mike Cameron
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Date: Nov. 11, 1998
Reds: CF Mike Cameron
A talented five-tool outfielder, Mike Cameron had the potential to be a star player but his plate discipline was shaky and he struck out a ton.
He spent just one season with the Reds before he was used in the package to acquire Ken Griffey Jr. from Seattle.
White Sox: 1B Paul Konerko
Konerko entered the 1998 season at the No. 2 overall prospect after posting a .323 BA, 37 HR, 127 RBI year in Triple-A with the Dodgers organization.
Konerko was actually traded twice in 1998, as the Dodgers shipped him to Cincinnati at the deadline for All-Star closer Jeff Shaw, only to flip him for Cameron.
He is currently in his 14th season with the White Sox, and entered play on July 18 with a line of .285 BA, 403 HR, 1,275 RBI during his time on the South Side.
Dodgers Send Pedro Martinez to Expos for Delino DeShields
Date: Nov. 19, 1993
Dodgers: 2B Delino DeShields
With the departure of Jody Reed, the Dodgers found themselves in need of a starting second baseman heading into the 1994 season and they landed a dynamic speed threat in the Expos' Delino DeShields.
Still just 24 years old, DeShields had stolen 187 bases in four seasons in the league, while posting a respectable .277 average. However, he struggled to a .250 average and stole just 27 bases in his first year with the Dodgers. He spent only three seasons with the team, although he would go on to have a solid big-league career.
Expos: SP Pedro Martinez
In return, the Expos got 22-year-old Pedro Martinez, who was arguably the best middle reliever in baseball the previous season when he went 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA and 119 Ks in 107 innings. However, he was wild and it was unclear whether he would be a starter down the road.
That was quickly cleared up though when the Expos plugged him into the rotation to open the 1994 season and he went 11-5 with a 3.42 ERA.
He would only get better, culminating in an NL Cy Young Award in his final season with the team in 1997 when he went 17-8 with a 1.90 ERA, 305 Ks and a whopping 13 complete games. After that he was dealt to the Red Sox, where he went on to become the best pitcher in baseball.
Browns Send Roy Sievers to Senators for Gil Coan
Photo Credit: Topps
Date: Feb. 18, 1954
Browns: OF Gil Coan
Coan was a solid outfielder who saw significant playing time with the Senators from 1948-1952, and he received MVP votes in 1951 when he hit .303 BA, 9 HR, 62 RBI.
However, he would spend just a season and a half with the then-Orioles before being traded, and he was out of baseball two years later.
Senators: 1B Roy Sievers
Sievers looked to be the next big slugger when he captured AL Rookie of the Year honors in 1949 with a line of .306 BA, 16 HR, 91 RBI. Injuries took their toll after that season, though, as he managed to appear in just 247 games total over the next four years.
The Browns finally gave up on him ever being healthy, but Sievers did just that and blossomed into one of the league's top hitters immediately following the trade.
In six seasons in Washington he hit .267 BA, 180 HR, 574 RBI. His best season came in 1957, when he hit .301 BA, 42 HR, 114 RBI, leading the league in HR, RBI and total bases.
Marlins (via Astros) Send Johan Santana to Twins for Jared Camp
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Date: Dec. 13, 1999
Marlins: RP Jared Camp
Teams often select a player in the Rule V Draft with the intent of trading them to another team, and that is exactly what the Marlins did when they selected Santana from the Astros and dealt him to the Twins the same day.
Camp never saw the majors, and in fact never saw the field as a member of the Marlins, as he wound up pitching for four different teams in 2000 alone.
Twins: SP Johan Santana, Cash
After spending his first three seasons in Minnesota primarily as a reliever, Santana broke out with a 12-3 record as a swingman in 2003 when he made 45 appearances, 18 of which were starts.
The next season he was inserted in the rotation full-time,, and he responded with a 20-6, 2.61 ERA, 265 K season that saw him take home his first of two Cy Young Awards.
Santana quickly became one of the game's top pitchers, and he won 93 games in eight seasons with the Twins before he was traded to the Mets for a group of prospects.
Giants Send George Foster to Reds for Frank Duffy
Photo Credit: SI Kids
Date: May 29, 1971
Giants: SS Frank Duffy, RP Vern Geishert
With a crowded outfield and no shortstop, the Giants traded for Frank Duffy of the Reds but he appeared in just 21 games before being packaged in the offseason with Gaylord Perry for Sam McDowell, in what was a lopsided trade in its own right.
Reds: LF George Foster
At 22 years old, and with just 54 big-league games in three seasons under his belt, there was no reason to think George Foster would one day be an impact slugger on the best team in baseball—but that is just what he became.
In 11 seasons with the Reds, Foster hit .286 BA, 244 HR, 861 RBI and won the 1977 NL MVP when he hit .320 BA, 52 HR, 149 RBI back when it actually meant something to hit 50 home runs.
Reds Send Josh Hamilton to Rangers for Edinson Volquez
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Date: Dec. 21, 2007
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton
After a well-documented battle with drugs and alcohol, former No. 1 overall pick Hamilton finally made his big league debut with the Reds in 2007, hitting .292 BA, 19 HR, 47 RBI over 298 at bats.
The Reds attempted to sell high, but missed badly as Hamilton erupted the following season in his first year with the Rangers, hitting .304 BA, 32 HR, 130 RBI and while he has battled injuries he has emerged as one of the best players in all of baseball since coming to Texas.
Reds: SP Edinson Volquez, RP Danny Herrera
Volquez put together a fantastic 2007 season in the minors, going 16-4 with a 3.67 ERA and 10.3 K/9 as a 23-year-old over three different levels. He was even better in his first season with the Reds, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 206 strikeouts.
While it looked as though both teams benefited early on, Volquez was never matched his 2008 numbers as injuries limited him to just 41 starts over the next three seasons as he went 13-12 with a 5.01 ERA. He was dealt to the Padres as part of the Mat Latos deal in the offseason.
Herrera looked to be a solid pickup too, appearing in 70 games in 2009 and posting a 3.06 ERA, but he has bounced around since.
Expos Send Sizemore, Phillips and Lee to Indians for Bartolo Colon
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Date: June 27, 2002
Expos: SP Bartolo Colon, P Tim Drew
Coming off of a 68-94 season the previous year, the Expos found themselves just 6.5 games out of first place and decided to make a serious push for the playoffs. They moved three of their top prospects and acquired the top arm on the market in Bartolo Colon from the Indians.
He went 10-4 in his 17 starts with a 3.31 ERA, but the team fell off badly and finished 12.5 games out of the Wild Card. Colon was traded in the offseason to the White Sox for Orlando Hernandez and a pair of prospects.
Indians: CF Grady Sizemore, SP Cliff Lee, 2B Brandon Phillips, 1B Lee Stevens
The Expos paid dearly for Colon, sending their three top prospects over in the deal. Sizemore, who was still in the low levels of the minors and was only beginning to tap into his potential, would become the Indians' center fielder and face of the franchise as a 30-30 threat before injuries derailed his career.
Phillips, ranked as the team's top prospect and the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball, never quite caught on in Cleveland and was sent to the Reds for reliever Jeff Stevens, where he has become on of the game's top second baseman.
Lee was perhaps the most successful of the group with the Indians, as he won 83 games in eight seasons and went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA in 2008, to win AL Cy Young. He was eventually traded to the Phillies for a trio of prospects who are beginning to make an impact with the Indians now.
Senators Send Early Wynn to Indians for Eddie Robinson, Joe Haynes
Photo Credit: Historum
Date: Dec. 14, 1948
Senators: 1B Eddie Robinson, SP Joe Haynes, RP Ed Klieman
Robinson hit .294 BA, 18 HR, 74 RBI in his first season with the Senators to make the All-Star team, but slumped the next season and was dealt to the White Sox, where he would make three more All-Star trips.
Haynes was an All-Star in 1948 after winning the ERA title in 1947, and he was acquired by the Indians a month before being flipped in the Wynn deal. He spent four season with the Senators and had a 5.42 ERA before retiring.
Klieman made just two appearances for the Senators in 1949 before being traded to the White Sox, and he was retired a year later.
Indians: SP Early Wynn, 1B Mickey Vernon
After eight up-and-down seasons with the Senators, Wynn was dealt to the Indians. Following a decent 11-7 first season in Cleveland, Wynn rattled off seven straight seasons with at least 17 wins, topping the 20-win plateau four times.
In all, Wynn recorded 163 wins with the Indians before being traded to the White Sox. However, he did re-join the Tribe in 1963 at the age of 43, winning one game to give him exactly 300 for his career.
Vernon enjoyed a solid .291 BA, 18 HR, 83 RBI first season in Cleveland before being shipped back to Washington.
Astros Send Mike Cuellar to Orioles for Curt Blefary
Photo Credit: Camden Chat
Date: Dec. 4, 1968
Astros: OF Curt Blefary, 3B John Mason
After opening his career by winning the AL Rookie of the Year for the Orioles in 1965, with a line of .260 BA, 22 HR, 70 RBI, Curt Blefary posted similar numbers over the next two seasons before slumping in 1968.
Blefary spent just one season with the Astros before being traded again to the Yankees, and he would never regain his early-career form.
Orioles: SP Mike Cuellar, SS Enzo Hernandez, OF Tom Johnson
In six big-league seasons with three different teams, Cuellar had been solid with a career record of 42-41 and a 2.97 ERA, but he was 32 years old at the time of the trade—so, seemingly, what you saw was what you got.
Instead, he took off once he reached Baltimore, going 23-11 with a 2.38 ERA to earn AL Cy Young honors and finish eighth in MVP voting.
He would win at least 18 games in each of his first six seasons with the Orioles, going a combined 125-63 with a 2.99 ERA.
Astros Send Joe Morgan to Reds for Lee May
Photo Credit: Baseball's Black Heritage
Date: Nov. 29, 1971
Astros: 1B Lee May, 2B Tommy Helms, UT Jimmy Stewart
One of the better sluggers of his era, May was coming off of three straight 30-plus home run seasons and was still in the prime of his career at 28 years old when the Astros picked him up. He spent just three seasons in Houston before being traded again, to the Royals for little to speak of.
Helms was Morgan's replacement at second base, as he was a two-time All-Star who had won two straight Gold Gloves at the time of the trade. He spent three seasons as a solid starter before tailing off.
Reds: 2B Joe Morgan, SP Jack Billingham, CF Cesar Geronimo, OF Ed Armbrister, 3B Denis Menke
A solid player with the Astros, Morgan took his game to the next level in Cincinnati.
He was an All-Star in all eight of his seasons in Cincinnati, serving as the catalyst of the Big Red Machine and earning back-to-back NL MVP awards in 1975 and 1976.
Billingham went on to win 87 games in six seasons with the team, serving as one of their top starting pitchers, while Geronimo was the team's fourth outfielder and a solid contributor as well.
Padres Send Ozzie Smith to Cardinals for Garry Templeton
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Date: Dec. 10, 1981
Padres: SS Garry Templeton, RF Sixto Lezcano, RP Luis DeLeon
Templeton broke into the league as a 20-year-old, and was a starter the following season as he went on to hit .305 over his six season with the Cardinals and made a pair of All-Star teams.
However, he was far from a fan favorite in St. Louis and had clashes with fans and the team's front office alike, leading to his being traded.
He went on to play 10 seasons with the Padres, and while he was solid, he was nowhere near the player he was with the Cardinals in posting a .252 average for San Diego.
DeLeon was a solid reliever, and served as the Padres closer in 1982 and 1983 when he saved 28 games and posted a 2.37 ERA. Lezcano was a solid slugger in his prime, and had a .289 BA, 16 HR, 84 RBI first season with the Padres but fell off sharply after that.
Cardinals: SS Ozzie Smith, SP Steve Mura, SP Al Olmsted
Already a two-time Gold Glove winner, Smith hit just .231 over his first four seasons as an everyday player, and the Cardinals no doubt thought they were downgrading to get rid of Templeton.
He never became a force offensively, but in his 15 seasons with the Cardinals he hit a respectable .272. Really though, any offense was a bonus from Smith who was a once-in-a-lifetime defensive talent at shortstop.
Mura went 12-11 with a 4.05 ERA in his lone season with the Cardinals, while Olmsted never saw the majors after the trade.
Blue Jays Send Michael Young to Rangers for Esteban Loaiza
Cooper Neill/Getty Images
Date: July 19, 2000
Blue Jays: SP Esteban Loaiza
With a 44-45 record through five-and-a-half seasons, Esteban Loaiza was little more than a bottom-of-the-rotation starter. He would go 25-28 with a 4.96 ERA in three seasons with the Blue Jays, before he left in free agency and won 21 games with the White Sox the following season.
Rangers: SS Michael Young, RP Darwin Cubillan
For the Rangers, Michael Young stepped into a utility role in his first three seasons with the team before settling into the starting second base role in 2003. That season, he began a string of five straight .300 BA, 200-hit seasons as he is one of the best contact hitters of recent years and perhaps the greatest Rangers player of all time.
Tigers Send Billy Pierce to White Sox for Aaron Robinson
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Date: Nov. 10, 1948
Tigers: C Aaron Robinson
In need of a starting catcher, the Tigers acquired 33-year-old former All-Star Aaron Robinson from the White Sox prior to the 1949 season. He put together a solid first season with Detroit, hitting .269 BA, 13 HR, 56 RBI, but he fell off sharply after that and would be out of the league by the end of the 1951 season.
White Sox: SP Billy Pierce, $10,000
In return, the White Sox got 21-year-old left-hander Billy Pierce who had just 27 big-league appearances (five starts) under his belt. He immediately jumped into the White Sox rotation and would go on to win 186 games with a 3.19 ERA in 13 seasons on the South Side.
Athletics Send Roger Maris to Yankees for Hank Sauer, Don Larsen
Photo Credit: Topps
Date: Dec. 11, 1959
Athletics: RF Hank Bauer, SP Don Larsen, 1B Norm Siebern, 1B Marv Throneberry
While Bauer and Larsen were the big names of this deal, they did little for the A's. Bauer was wrapping up his career and played just two more seasons and Larsen struggled in a season and a half before being traded.
Siebern wound up being the best player they acquired, as he hit a combined .289 BA, 78 HR, 367 RBI in three-and-a-half seasons with the A's before being traded to the Orioles.
Yankees: RF Roger Maris, SS Joe DeMaestri, 1B Kent Hadley
Originally a member of the Indians, Roger Maris was traded to the Athletics in 1958 and was an All-Star in his first full season with the team the following year.
Despite that, he was traded again in 1960 and despite his well-documented dislike for the media, he thrived in New York.
He won the AL MVP in 1960 and then followed that up with his legendary 61-home-run season in 1961, capturing his second straight MVP in the process.
In total, Maris played seven seasons with the Yankees and hit .265 BA, 203 HR, 547 RBI, helping the Yankees to five pennants and two titles.
White Sox Send Sammy Sosa to Cubs for George Bell
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Date: Mar. 30, 1992
White Sox: LF George Bell
A prolific slugger in his nine seasons with the Blue Jays, Bell won the 1987 AL MVP and slugged 202 home runs during his time in Toronto.
The Cubs signed him as a free agent and he hit .285 BA, 25 HR, 86 RBI in his lone season with the team, earning an All-Star trip.
He was solid in his first season with the White Sox, but he fell off drastically the following year and retired following the 1993 season at the age of 33.
Cubs: RF Sammy Sosa, RP Ken Patterson
In two seasons as a regular with the White Sox, Sosa showed flashes of his future potential but more times than not was simply frustrating, as he hit .222 and struck out a ton.
After playing part-time in his first season with the Cubs, he moved into an everyday role in 1993 and went on to hit 33 home runs and steal 36 bases.
As he developed more power his base-stealing slowed, but he would go on to be one of the most prolific home-run hitters in baseball history; he hit 545 of his 609 career home runs during his 13 seasons with the Cubs.
Phillies Send Curt Schilling to Diamondbacks for Travis Lee, Omar Daal
Date: Jul. 26, 2000
Phillies: 1B Travis Lee, SP Omar Daal, SP Vicente Padilla, SP Nelson Figueroa
One of the top prospects in baseball entering the 1998 season, Lee hit .269 BA, 22 HR, 72 RBI to finish third in NL Rookie of the Year voting. He slumped the next two seasons though, and the Diamondbacks moved him while he still had value.
In two seasons as the Phillies' starting first baseman, he hit .261 BA, 33 HR, 160 RBI before the team let him walk in free agency.
Daal went 13-7 with a 4.46 ERA in his lone season in the Phillies' rotation, while Padilla wound up being the best acquisition as he won 19 games with a 3.98 ERA in six seasons with the team, making an All-Star appearance in 2002.
Diamondbacks: SP Curt Schilling
While this trade did not pay immediate dividends for the D'Backs, with Schilling going just 5-6 down the stretch in 2000 and the team finishing a distant third place in the NL West, the next season would be a different story.
In 2001 Schilling went 22-6, combining with Johnson to win 43 games as the team went 92-70, winning the NL West and eventually the World Series, with Schilling going 4-0 in six postseason starts.
He went 23-7 the following season before an injury-plagued 2003 held him to 8-9. Then he was off to Boston, but Schilling more than made his mark on the Diamondbacks, playing an integral role in taking home the team's first title.
Mets Send Nolan Ryan to Angels for Jim Fregosi
Photo Credit: Coffeyville Whirlwind
Date: Dec 10, 1971
Mets: SS Jim Fregosi
Just to make it clear, Ryan was not the marquee player in this deal at the time, Fregosi was. In 11 seasons with the Angels, he was a six-time All-Star and in his nine seasons as a starter he averaged a line of .268 BA, 12 HR, 58 RBI as one of the better offensive shortstops of his day.
Still just 30 at the time of the trade, he should have had plenty left in the tank but instead fell off dramatically. He hit just .233 BA, 5 HR, 43 RBI in 146 games over parts of two seasons before he was sold to the Rangers.
Angels: SP Nolan Ryan, OF Leroy Stanton, C Frank Estrada, P Don Rose
While he would go on to become one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history, the career of Nolan Ryan began with a good deal of uncertainty stemming from his control problems.
After posting a record of 29-38 and walking over six batters per nine innings in his five seasons with the Mets, the team traded him while his potential could still bring them some value.
Ryan immediately figured things out upon arriving in California, going 19-16, 2.28 ERA, 329 Ks in his first season. He would go on to win 138 games with a 3.07 ERA in eight seasons with the Angels.
Braves Send Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Others to Rangers for Mark Teixeira
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Date: July 31, 2007
Braves: 1B Mark Teixeira, RP Ron Mahay
In the midst of a playoff push, the Braves decided to go for it and dealt a handful of their top prospects for Rangers slugger Mark Teixeira. He went on to hit .317 BA, 17 HR, 56 RBI in just 54 games, but in the end the Braves did not make the postseason. He was traded midway through the next season to the Angels for first base prospect Casey Kotchman.
Rangers: CP Neftali Feliz, SS Elvis Andrus, SP Matt Harrison, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RP Beau Jones
This trade is a big reason why the Rangers have won back-to-back AL pennants, as it gave them three key contributors.
A top starting pitching prospect, Neftali Feliz was shifted to the closer's role for the 2010 season as he opened his rookie year in the bullpen. He went on to make the All-Star team and won AL Rookie of the Year with a whopping 40 saves. In two seasons as the stopper, he had 72 saves and a 2.73 ERA before moving the rotation this season.
Andrus, a slick fielding shortstop whose offense was a question mark at the time of the trade, has been a staple at shortstop since 2009. In his rookie season he hit .267 and stole 33 bases, while playing superb defense to finish second in Rookie of the Year voting, and he has improved offensively across the board this season.
Harrison joined the Rangers' rotation midway through the 2008 season and broke out in 2011 when he went 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA. He's built off of that this season, going 12-4 with a 2.87 ERA and making his first All-Star appearance, as he's been the ace of the team.
Saltalamacchia, while he never made a significant impact for the Rangers, has emerged as the Red Sox's everyday catcher and he has 17 HR and 41 RBI already this season.
Athletics Send Nellie Fox to White Sox for Joe Tipton
Photo Credit: Late Innings
Date: Oct. 19, 1949
Athletics: C Joe Tipton
A backup catcher for two seasons with the White Sox, Tipton hit a combined .231 BA, 4 HR, 32 RBI before being trade at the age of 27. He continued to serve as a backup, and spent just two-and-a-half years with the Athletics.
White Sox: 2B Nellie Fox
In three seasons with the Athletics, Nellie Fox played just 98 games and never really found a role before he was traded as a 22-year-old. Once he got to Chicago, his career took off as he made 12 All-Star teams and took home the 1959 AL MVP on his way to Hall of Fame induction.
Phillies Send Ryne Sandberg, Larry Bowa to Cubs for Ivan DeJesus
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Date: Jan. 27, 1982
Phillies: SS Ivan DeJesus
Originally drafted by the Dodgers, DeJesus was acquired by the Cubs along with Bill Buckner for outfielder Rick Monday.
He became the team's starting shortstop after the trade and posted an average line of .261 BA, 3 HR, 35 RBI, 31 SB in five seasons with the team.
He would spend three seasons as the Phillies' starting shortstop, with an average line of .249 BA, 2 HR, 46 RBI, 12 SB before being traded to the Cardinals.
Cubs: 2B Ryne Sandberg, SS Larry Bowa
After spending 12 seasons with the Phillies, the Phillies decided to move shortstop Larry Bowa rather than extend him, and they acquired his replacement in DeJesus.
Because DeJesus still had some upside, the Cubs also landed a third-base prospect in the deal in the form of 22-year-old Ryne Sandberg.
The Cubs immediately plugged Sandberg into the starting lineup, moved him to second base, and two seasons later he was the NL MVP after leading the Cubs to the playoffs.
He would finish his Hall of Fame career as one of the best second basemen ever to play the game, with an offensive line of .285 BA, 282 HR and 1,061 RBI to go along with nine Gold Gloves.
Tigers Send John Smoltz to Braves for Doyle Alexander
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Date: Aug. 12, 1987
Tigers: SP Doyle Alexander
Pushing for a playoff spot, the Tigers were in need of a solid fourth starter and acquired 36-year-old veteran Doyle Alexander from the Braves. He was phenomenal down the stretch, making 11 starts and going 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA. He retired two years later, but certainly did his part for the 1987 team.
Braves: SP John Smoltz
A former 22nd-round pick, Smoltz has done nothing to show he would be a future ace through one-and-a-half minor league seasons. However, in his first season in the Braves' system he went 10-5 with a 2.79 ERA.
He joined the Braves' rotation in 1989 and made the All-Star team in his first season. He went on to pitch 20 seasons in Atlanta, going 213-155 with 154 saves and a 3.33 ERA, in what could very well end up being a Hall of Fame career.
Mariners Send Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe to Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Date: July 31, 1997
Mariners: CP Heathcliff Slocumb
With closer Norm Charlton struggling to the tune of a 7.27 ERA, the contending Mariners made a move to acquire Heathcliff Slocumb from the Red Sox. He was a suitable replacement for Charlton, saving 10 games with a 4.13 ERA while striking out a batter an inning, as the Mariners won the AL West but bowed out of the playoffs in the first round.
Red Sox: C Jason Varitek, SP Derek Lowe
A top-tier catching prospect, Varitek was the Red Sox's starting catcher by the 1999 season and he spent 15 seasons with the team, making a trio of All-Star teams and handling the pitching staff phenomenally as team captain.
Lowe, coincidentally, turned into the closer that the Mariners were looking for. He saved 81 games in three seasons as the Red Sox's stopper before moving the rotation, where he won 52 games in three seasons including 21 in his first season as a starter.
Expos Send Randy Johnson to Mariners for Mark Langston
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Date: May 25, 1989
Expos: SP Mark Langston, SP Mike Campbell
One of the top strikeout pitchers in all of baseball, Mark Langston went 74-67 with a 4.01 ERA in six seasons with the Expos, while leading the NL in strikeouts three different times.
Campbell never pitched for the Expos, and appeared in just 17 more games with three different teams before retiring at the age of 32.
Mariners: SP Randy Johnson, SP Brian Holman, RP Gene Harris
A wild but hard-throwing left-hander who showed flashes in a season-and-a-half with the Expos, Randy Johnson stepped right into the Mariners' rotation and made the All-Star team in his first full season with the team.
In the end he went 130-74 with a 3.42 ERA in 10 years, and won the 1995 AL Cy Young before being dealt to the Astros for Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillen.
Brian Holman also brought some return, as he went 24-25 with a 3.86 ERA in two seasons in the Mariners' rotation.
Phillies Send Fergie Jenkins to Cubs for Larry Jackson
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Date: April 21, 1966
Phillies: SP Larry Jackson, SP Bob Buhl
Looking to add a veteran starter, the Phillies acquired Larry Jackson from the Cubs. In parts of 12 seasons, the 35-year-old Jackson had tallied 152 wins and was just two years removed from a 24-win season. He would go 41-45 with a 2.95 ERA in three seasons in Philadelphia before retiring.
Buhl had 160 career wins at the time of the trade, but was also wrapping up his career—he retired the following season at the age of 38.
Cubs: SP Fergie Jenkins, CF Adolfo Phillips, OF John Herrnstein
A 23-year-old with just eight appearances under his belt at the time of the trade, Fergie Jenkins served as a swingman with the Cubs after the trade but joined the rotation the following season. He would win at least 20 games each of his first six seasons in the rotation and he had compiled a 141-100 record with a 3.11 ERA by the time he was traded to the Rangers in 1973.
The team also picked up a solid center fielder in Adolfo Phillips, who served as the team's starter in 1967 and 1968 and posted an 8.4 WAR over that stretch.
Red Sox Send Jeff Bagwell to Astros for Larry Andersen
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Date: Aug. 30, 1990
Red Sox: RP Larry Andersen
With a 6.5-game lead in the division, the Red Sox made a move to bolster their bullpen in 1990, acquiring Astros veteran reliever Larry Andersen, who was in the midst of a stellar season with a 1.95 ERA in 73.2 innings of work. He was even better post-trade, with a 1.23 ERA in 22 innings, but the Red Sox were swept in the first round of the playoffs and he was gone in free agency the next season.
Astros: 1B Jeff Bagwell
A fourth-round selection by the Red Sox in the 1989 MLB Draft, Jeff Bagwell hit .333 BA, 4 HR, 61 RBI in what was his first pro season in 1990. The following season, the Astros made him their starting first baseman and he hit .294 BA, 15 HR, 82 RBI to win NL Rookie of the Year.
Before all was said and done, he had a career line of .297/.408/.540, 449 HR, 1,529 RBI over his 15-year career, all of which was spent with the Astros.
Reds Send Frank Robinson to Orioles for Milt Pappas
Photo Credit: ccsabathia52.com
Date: Dec. 9, 1965
Reds: SP Milt Pappas, RP Jack Baldschun, OF Dick Simpson
Pappas went 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA in his first season with the Reds, and 30-29 with a 4.04 ERA overall in parts of three seasons with the team before he was traded to the Braves.
Neither Baldschun nor Simpson did much of anything for the Reds, and they were out of Cincinnati by the end of the 1967 season.
Orioles: RF Frank Robinson
Looking to bolster the team's pitching rotation, Reds GM Bill DeWitt made the controversial decision to deal superstar Frank Robinson to the Orioles for Milt Pappas, stating that Robinson was "an old 30" to try to justify the move (h/t CNN Sports Illustrated.com).
It didn't take long for DeWitt to eat his words, as Robinson won the AL Triple Crown in his first season with the Orioles, hitting .316 with 49 HR and 122 RBI, leading the team to a World Series title in the process.
He would play a total of six seasons with the Orioles, hitting .300 with 179 HR and 545 RBI, showing that he was far from washed up at the age of 30, and cementing his place as one of the best hitters to ever play the game.
Cubs Send Lou Brock to Cardinals for Ernie Broglio
Photo Credit: Encyclopedia of Arkansas
Date: Jun. 15, 1964
Cubs: SP Ernie Broglio, RP Bobby Shantz, OF Doug Clemens
Broglio was coming off of an 18-win season, and also had a 21-win season to his credit. At 28 years old, he seemed to be just entering his prime.
However, he scuffled to a 4-7 record after the trade, as his arm was simply burned out. He was out of baseball two years after the trade.
Shantz was a former All-Star and the 1952 NL MVP when he went 24-7 with a 2.48 ERA for the Athletics, but he was 38 years old and the 1964 season would be his last.
Cardinals: LF Lou Brock, SP Paul Toth, RP Jack Spring
In two full seasons with the Cubs, Brock showed flashes of his talent, with 40 steals over that span. However, he hit just .260 and struck out much more than you would like for a leadoff hitter.
He immediately stepped his game up after the trade though, hitting .348 BA, 12 HR, 44 RBI, 33 SB in 103 games after the trade.
He went on to spend 16 seasons with the Cardinals, finishing his career with 3,023 hits and 938 steals on is way to Hall of Fame induction.
Cardinals Send Steve Carlton to Phillies for Rick Wise
Photo Credit: AB Sports
Date: Feb 25, 1972
Cardinals: SP Rick Wise
When 27-year-old Steve Carlton followed up a 19-loss season in 1970 with a 20-win season in 1971, the Cardinals decided to sell high and they dealt the left-hander to the Phillies for Rick Wise, who was coming off a 17-win season of his own.
Wise spent just two seasons in St. Louis, winning a respectable 16 games in both seasons before he was traded to the Red Sox.
Phillies: SP Steve Carlton
Carlton emerged as one of the best pitchers of the 1970s after the trade, starting things out with a 27-10 record, 1.97 ERA and 310 Ks in his first year in Philadelphia, winning the pitching Triple Crown and the first of four NL Cy Young awards.
With 329 career wins and 4,136 strikeouts, Carlton is a Phillies icon and is arguably the best left-hander to ever toe the rubber.
Athletics Send "Shoeless" Joe Jackson to Naps for Bris Lord
Photo Credit: nndb.com
Date: July 30, 1910
Athletics: OF Bris Lord
In a deal that looked relatively insignificant at the time, the Athletics acquired a 26-year-old outfielder who had never been much more than a fourth outfielder in Bris Lord, for a pair of unknowns. Lord had a breakout season in his first full season with the A's, hitting .310 BA, 3 HR, 55 RBI to finish 14th in MVP voting, but he was out of the league two years later.
Naps: OF "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, 2B Morrie Rath
A light-hitting second baseman named Morrie Rath was the original compensation for Lord, with the Athletics including a player to be named in the deal. That player turned out to be 22-year-old outfielder Joe Jackson.
In 40 at-bats over the previous two seasons he had hit just .150, but quickly showed potential hitting .387 in 20 games after the trade. He then exploded into one of the best hitters of all time, hitting .408 with 83 RBI in his first full season and finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting all four of his full seasons with the team, before being traded to the White Sox.
Reds Send Christy Mathewson to Giants for Amos Rusie
Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
Date: Dec. 15, 1900
Reds: SP Amos Rusie
Coming off a 62-77 season, the Reds traded for 30-year-old veteran Amos Rusie who already had 246 wins to his credit and would one day be a Hall of Famer to help bolster their rotation. However, he would appear in just three games with the Reds and post an 8.59 ERA before retiring.
Giants: SP Christy Mathewson
Generally, trading for a 30-year-old future Hall of Famer is a good idea, but it couldn't have gone worse for the Reds as they gave up one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history in a 20-year-old Christy Mathewson. He would go on to win 373 games with a 2.13 ERA over his sparkling 17-year career.
Red Sox Send Babe Ruth to Yankees for $100,000
Photo Credit: SABR
Date: Jan 3, 1920
Red Sox: $100,000
Yankees: RF Babe Ruth
It was the offseason following the 1919 baseball season, and the Red Sox had a full-blown superstar on their hands in Babe Ruth. Formerly a pitcher who could really hit, Ruth was now an outfielder who occasionally pitched, and he was putting up numbers that no one had ever seen before.
With a batting line of .322 BA, 29 HR and 114 RBI and a pitching record of 9-5 with a 2.97 ERA over 133.1 innings, it was a season for the ages.
Whether it was Ruth asking for his salary to be doubled to $20,000, or whether the stories that Red Sox owner Harry Frazee was trying to finance a theatrical production were in fact true (via SABR), for one reason or another Ruth was put on the trade block.
The White Sox offered up $60,000 and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson for Ruth, but Frazee declined and instead took the Yankees' deal and the full $100,000 that he was seeking.
Thus, the Curse of the Bambino was born, as the Red Sox would go without a World Series until the curse was broken in 2004. Meanwhile, the Yankees became baseball's most revered franchise and piled up titles with Ruth leading the way.