Teams that feel they are close to being championship-caliber will occasionally take the risk of trading away young talent in exchange for one year, and sometimes only two to three months, of an impact player.
While sacrificing the "future"—players with impact potential who will be under team control for several years at a team-friendly rate once they reach the majors, if they're not there already—to give the big league team a better chance to advance to the playoffs and beyond for the current season has been known to backfire, it can also be great for business.
And because the business is heavily based on selling tickets—mainly to baseball fans who are focused on how good the team is right now and not three to five years down the road—it's important for a front office to be aggressive and "go all in" when they feel the time is right.
If all the pieces fall into place, the excitement surrounding the team during a heated pennant race and the capturing of a division title, as well as the anticipation of a playoff series—not to mention ticket sales for games that aren't on the regular-season schedule—and the actual playoff run is what can win over a fan for life.
For most of us who have loved a particular team since our youth, it's very likely that we didn't become passionate about a team that was losing year after year. Even if it was just one magical season, like in 1984 when the San Diego Padres won the heart of this then-nine-year-old, the excitement of that winning season is what made you want to cheer for that team from that point on.
Regardless of the outcome, you can't blame an organization for acting on a golden opportunity to win over thousands of new customers for life. Many have worked out great. Others, not so much.
Here are eight of the most notable trade rentals over the past decade with an updated grade for each team involved in the deal.