The Best and Worst Trade in the History of Every MLB Team

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2014

The Best and Worst Trade in the History of Every MLB Team

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    As the 2014 MLB trade deadline draws ever closer, now seems like the perfect time to look back at some of the best and worst trades in the history of the game.

    Every team has some truly memorable deals that have been made in its franchise’s history, but while some give hope for a deadline jackpot, others serve as a cautionary tale.

    The game itself is so unpredictable; you never know who could turn a corner in his development and break out or fall off significantly and no longer produce as expected. That's what makes things like the trade deadline and the winter meetings such an exciting time, as you never quite know what you're going to get, even after a trade is made.

    With that said, what follows is a look at the best and the worst trades in the history of each MLB team. Obviously, we have the luxury of hindsight when assessing these moves, something the respective general managers involved were not afforded.


    *Note: This list covers each team's franchise history, not just team history, so deals for the Montreal Expos are included with the Washington Nationals, for example.

Arizona D'Backs (Best): Curt Schilling Acquired from Philadelphia Phillies

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Date: July 26, 2000

    Diamondbacks Received: SP Curt Schilling

    Curt Schilling was 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 13 starts following this trade, but the Arizona Diamondbacks failed to make the playoffs, finishing a distant third in the NL West.

    The deal paid off huge the following season, though, as he went 22-6 with a 2.98 ERA and teamed up with Randy Johnson to help lead the Diamondbacks to a World Series title.

    Schilling finished second in NL Cy Young voting to Johnson in 2001 and 2002 (23-7, 3.23 ERA) before dealing with injury in 2003. He was then traded to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 2004 season for a forgettable package of prospects.

    Phillies Received: SP Omar Daal, SP Nelson Figueroa, SP Vicente Padilla, 1B Travis Lee

    Travis Lee was the big piece of this deal, and he had a .775 OPS with 20 home runs and 90 RBI in his first season with the Philadelphia Phillies. He had solid numbers again the following season before leaving in free agency.

    Vicente Padilla went 49-49 with a 3.98 ERA in six seasons in Philadelphia, making the All-Star team in 2002. Omar Daal and Nelson Figueroa were both out of Philly by the end of 2001.

Arizona D'Backs (Worst): Carlos Quentin Traded to Chicago White Sox

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Date: December 3, 2007


    Diamondbacks Received: 1B/OF Chris Carter

    A high-upside power prospect coming through the Chicago White Sox system, Chris Carter never suited up for the Diamondbacks. He was flipped again just 11 days later in the deal that would bring Dan Haren to Arizona, so his acquisition wasn't a complete loss.


    White Sox Received: OF Carlos Quentin

    Carlos Quentin never lived up to the hype that came with being selected with the No. 29 pick in the 2003 draft during his time in Arizona. He hit a combined .230/.316/.425 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI in 395 at-bats in 2006 and 2007.

    He quickly figured things out after joining the White Sox, though, posting a .965 OPS with 36 home runs and 100 RBI to finish fifth in AL MVP voting in 2008.

    He spent a total of four seasons on the South Side, posting an .857 OPS with 107 home runs and 320 RBI, before being traded to the San Diego Padres for a pair of prospects prior to the 2012 season.

Atlanta Braves (Best): John Smoltz Acquired from Detroit Tigers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Date: August 12, 1987


    Braves Received: SP John Smoltz

    A 22nd-round pick in 1985, John Smoltz had done little to indicate he would turn into a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher during his time in the Detroit Tigers organization.

    At the time of the trade, he was 4-11 with a 5.73 ERA and a higher walk rate (5.7 BB/9) than strikeout rate (5.6 K/9) between Double-A and Triple-A.

    Things immediately clicked in Atlanta, and he was an NL All-Star for the first time in 1989. He spent a total of 20 seasons with the Braves, going 210-147 and adding 154 saves with a 3.26 ERA as one of the best pitchers of his generation.


    Tigers Received: SP Doyle Alexander

    The Tigers got exactly what they were looking for out of Doyle Alexander, as he went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 starts following the trade, helping Detroit reach the playoffs in the process.

    He was rocked in two postseason starts, though, and after two more subpar seasons in Detroit, he retired as a 194-game winner at the age of 38.

Atlanta Braves (Worst): Adam Wainwright Traded to St. Louis Cardinals

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    Fernando Medina/Getty Images

    Date: December 13, 2003


    Braves Received: RF J.D. Drew, C/OF Eli Marrero

    The Braves hit on this trade in the short term, as J.D. Drew turned in a career year, hitting .305/.436/.569 with 31 home runs and 93 RBI to finish sixth in NL MVP voting.

    Eli Marrero was also a solid pickup, hitting .320/.374/.520 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI in 250 at-bats as a bat off the bench.

    The team made the playoffs, but it was ousted in the NLDS by the Houston Astros, and both players were gone by the following season.


    Cardinals Received: SP Adam Wainwright, SP Jason Marquis, RP Ray King

    Jason Marquis spent three seasons as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation following the trade, going 28-21 with a 3.92 ERA in his first two seasons before losing an NL-high 16 games and posting a 6.02 ERA in 2006 and leaving in free agency that offseason.

    Ray King was used early and often in his two years with the team, making 163 appearances and posting a 2.91 ERA as one of the better lefty specialists in the game.

    The real prize of this deal, though, was a local Georgia kid in Adam Wainwright, who was selected by the Braves in the first round of the 2000 draft.

    He debuted in 2005, served as the Cardinals' closer during their 2006 World Series run and has since emerged as one of the best starters in baseball with a 111-61 record and a 2.99 ERA over his nine-year big league career.

Baltimore Orioles (Best): Frank Robinson Acquired from Cincinnati Reds

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Date: December 9, 1965


    Orioles Received: RF Frank Robinson

    The Baltimore Orioles jumped at the chance to acquire Frank Robinson, who was still very much in the prime of his career, prior to the 1966 season, and he rewarded them with a phenomenal first season in Baltimore.

    The 30-year-old won the Triple Crown with a .316 average, 49 homers and 122 RBI, and he capped off his season with World Series MVP honors.

    He led the Orioles to three more AL pennants and another title in 1971 during his six seasons with the team, posting a .944 OPS with 179 home runs and 545 RBI to cement his place as one of the greatest hitters of all time.


    Reds Received: SP Milt Pappas, RP Jack Baldschun, OF Dick Simpson

    Milt Pappas went 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA in his first season with the Cincinnati 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 Jack Baldschun nor Dick Simpson did much of anything for the Reds, and they were out of Cincinnati by the end of the 1967 season.

Baltimore Orioles (Worst): Schilling/Finley/Harnisch Traded to Houston Astros

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Date: January 10, 1991


    Orioles Received: 1B Glenn Davis

    Looking for an upgrade at first base over Randy Milligan, who had taken over when Eddie Murray was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 1989 season, the Orioles shipped out a trio of prospects for slugger Glenn Davis.

    The 30-year-old had launched 164 home runs over the previous six seasons in Houston, tallying at least 20 long balls each year. His numbers were down a bit in 1990, but he was still productive overall, as he had an .880 OPS with 22 home runs and 64 RBI.

    The deal wound up being a disaster from the start. Davis suffered a neck injury during spring training and was limited to just 49 games during his first season in Baltimore.

    He was never the same dangerous slugger following the trade, and he retired after three seasons in Baltimore. He played a grand total of 185 games with the team, hitting .247/.312/.400 with 24 home runs and 85 RBI in 687 at-bats.


    Astros Received: SP Curt Schilling, CF Steve Finley, SP Pete Harnisch

    All three players that Houston received in the trade went on to be All-Stars later on in their career.

    Curt Schilling went on to be one of the best pitchers of his generation, winning 216 games and ranking 15th all time with 3,116 career strikeouts. He was al