Five Defining Deadline Deals By The Braves
John Smoltz from the Detroit Tigers for Doyle Alexander, August 12, 1987
Every Braves fan knows the story. The Braves got a 20-year-old Smoltz from the Tigers for the 36-year-old Alexander.
Alexander went on to help Detroit win their division. He went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA over the final month and a half of the season. Alexander's postseason numbers were not nearly as successful. He went 0-5 with an 8.38 ERA. Alexander would never really again meet those lofty marks.
Meanwhile, Smoltz went on to become one of the faces of the most dominant team in the National League for 15 years. Smoltz amassed a record of 210-147 for the Braves. He posted a career ERA of 3.26 and 3,011 strikeouts in Atlanta.
Smoltz also posted 154 saves with a brief conversion to closer following multiple injuries. During his brief three seasons as a full-time closer, Smoltz managed to set the National Leagues season saves record with 55 in 2002 (Eric Gagne tied the record in 2003).
Smoltz pitched for the Braves from 1988 until he signed with the Red Sox following the 2008 season.
Dale Murphy and Tommy Greene to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jeff Parrett and Victor Rosario August 3, 1990.
This trade is significant less for the results than for its significance. Murphy had been the face of the Braves for 13 years. He belted 371 homers and won five Gold Gloves.
Murphy was beloved in Atlanta. Murphy won back-to-back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983, at the time the first player to win the award for a last place team.
The trade signaled the movement of the Braves from that era of futility into the 1990's and their era of success. Murphy managed only 27 homers and 116 RBIs in parts of three seasons with the Phillies.
Greene went 36-22 for the Phillies in six seasons. On May 23, 1993 Greene threw a no-hitter for the Phillies against the Expos.
Neither Parrett nor Rosario ever accomplished much for the Braves. Rosario is the only one who even managed to reach the majors, posting seven at-bats for the Braves in 1990 getting one hit.
Fred Mcgriff from the San Diego Padres for Melvin Nieves, Vince Moore, and Donnie Elliott, July 18, 1993.
Perhaps the defining move of the Braves during the 1990's was getting McGriff. McGriff gave the Braves the game-changing, middle of the order bat they had needed since bursting onto the scene in 1990.
Mcgriff stabilized the heart of the Braves order for five seasons, including the 1995 World Championship team. He belted 130 homers in his career with Atlanta and drove in 446 runs.
The Padres traded McGriff in order to unload his four million dollar price tag and that is about all they got in return. Nieves did manage to last parts of three seasons in San Diego, including hitting 14 home runs in 234 at-bats in 1995 his last season in San Diego.
Elliott threw 33 innings for the Padres in 1994 with a solid 3.27 ERA. He would appear in one game during the 1995 season and throw two scoreless innings before leaving baseball.
Vince Moore never appeared in a Major League game.
Denny Neagle from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ron Wright, Jason Schmidt, and Corey Pointer, August 28, 1996.
The Braves had been searching for an answer after the big three of Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz since losing Steve Avery. Neagle would win 38 games in three seasons for the Braves while losing only 19.
Neagle's best season in Atlanta was in 1997 when he went 20-5 with a 2.97 ERA. He finished that season third in the Cy Young voting for the National League. The Braves would trade Neagle after the 1998 season to the Reds for Bret Boone and Mike Remlinger.
Ron Wright never lived up to hype as a prodigous power hitter, managing only three lifetime at-bats and those came for Seattle in 2002.
Corey Pointer never managed to get the Majors either.
However, Jason Schmidt managed to salvage the trade for Pittsburgh. Schmidt went 42-45 in just over four seasons for the Pirates. He also managed to position himself as a solid Major League starter.
Although it would be in San Francisco that Schmidt would elevate himself to ace status. Schmidt would net the Pirates Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong in 2001 from the Giants. Neither player would ever do much for the Pirates.
Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones, July 31, 2007.
The Braves traded a king's ransom in 2007 to try to get back into the playoffs for the first time since 2005. Teixeira gave the Braves exactly what they expected. He hit 37 home runs for Atlanta in just over one full season and drove in 134 runs.
The Braves failed to make the playoffs in either 2007 or 2008. Atlanta would trade Teixeira in 2008 for Stephen Marek and Casey Kotchman from the Angels.
Mahay was solid for the Braves finishing up the 2007 season with a win and 2.25 ERA in 28 innings.
Texas made out like bandits. Saltalamacchia was the centerpiece of the deal for the Rangers. The young catcher has yet to fully realize his potential, but is still just 24 years old.
Andrus already looks like the gold chip prospect of this deal. He is having a very solid rookie season that has seen him emerge as one of the best defensive short stops in the American League. Andrus has also held his own at the plate posting a .254 average and 19 stolen bases so far in 2009.
Matt Harrison has spent parts of the last two seasons in the Rangers rotation going 13-8. Beau Jones has yet to make it to the majors, but is just 23 years old and at Double-A.
Neftali Feliz looks to be the other gold star from this trade. Feliz has emerged as one of the top prospects in baseball. He has a future as a starter, but may be more able to help the Rangers this season in the bullpen. He is currently ranked as the No. 13 prospect in baseball at mid-season by Baseball America.
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