10 Worst Trades Of All Time (All Sports)

A. Version 2.0Analyst IIAugust 8, 2009

Honorable Mentions


1).  John Smoltz Traded From Detroit to Atlanta for Doyle Alexander

Although the Tigers benefited in the short term, as Doyle went 9-0 for them, Smoltz went on to have a Hall of Fame career, and was the final piece to the Braves' dominant rotation in the '90s.


2). Charlotte Trades Kobe Bryant to Lakers

This is how it went down.

Kobe Bryant was the new hot shot youngster out of the draft and Charlotte got him. Kobe didn't want to play for Charlotte, so they ended up trading him and getting back Larry Drew and Michael Cooper.  

It was a bad trade, obviously, and Kobe went on to win an MVP, NBA Championships, and become a superstar.  But because Kobe refused to play for Charlotte, you can't include this trade in the top 10.


3). Mariners Trade Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Red Sox Heathcliff Slocumb

This trade ended up as bad as it could have been for the Mariners because they ended up getting nothing for Lowe and Varitek.

Slocumb did help the M's make the postseason, and that's what they wanted him to do, but in the long term, the Sox got back two multiple time All-Stars. Varitek went on to become the Sox captain, Lowe went on to become a steady rock in their rotation, and both went on to bring the Sox their long awaited Championship.


4). Boston Trades Jeff Bagwell for Houston's Larry Anderson

For every good trade there comes a bad trade, the Sox might have hit the jackpot with Lowe and Varitek, but were busted when they traded Bagwell for Anderson.

Now, Anderson wasn't a bad Major Leaguer; his career lasted from 1975 to 1994, and during that span he compiled a 3.15 ERA. But Jeff became a Texas legend and belted 449 HR, hit .297 and had 1,529 RBI for the Astros.


5). Orioles Trade Curt Schilling, Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch to Astros for Glen Davis

This was one of the weirdest trades ever.

Glen Davis was viewed nothing more than a meat head power hitter at best, but the Orioles gave up a future 200-game winner, multiple time All-Star, and a decent Major Leaguer for him.

This is considered one of the biggest steals of all time, because before the trade, Glenn never hit higher than .271 and the year prior he was hurt.


The All-Time List:


10). Mets trade Scott Kazmir to Rays for Victor Zambrano

This was not even close to fair.

This trade was a complete failure for the Mets.  Victor Zambrano did absolutely nothing for them.

Mets' pitching coach Rick Peterson thought he could fix Victor and help tame his wildness. But that was a bust, because Zambrano went 10-14 with an ERA of 4.39, giving up 94 walks in 201 IP as a Met.

Not to mention the Mets never made the playoffs while Zambrano was there, Kazmir, on the other hand, in four full seasons with the Rays, has gone 45-34 with a 3.51 ERA and helped them get to the World Series. 


9). Milwaukee Bucks trade Dirk Nowitzki to Dallas Mavericks for Robert Traylor

One of the worst trades in the history of the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks, with the 9th Overall selection in the 1998 NBA Draft, selected Dirk Nowitzki, and then immediately traded him for Tractor Traylor.

Well, you guys that don't watch the NBA might be thinking,  "What's so bad about this trade?"  

Oh, nothing. Dirk just went on to become an eight time All-Star, a nine time All-NBA team member, and won an MVP award, while Traylor averaged a measly 4.8 points a game.


8). Giants Trade Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser to Twins for A.J. Pierzynski

The Giants had the potential for one of the most dominant rotations with Lincecum, Cain, Liriano, and Sanchez. But before any of that could happen, the Giants traded a power lefty, power righty, and a durable arm for a moderate hitting catcher.

One aspect of the trade that looks bad is that they had A.J. for one season and he hit .272.  But the main reason the trade was so foolish is because Joe Nathan went on to become a four time All-Star, recording over 200 saves, Liriano is expected to be the Twins' staff ace, and Bonser is a solid switch hitter that both starts and does relief work.

All of them made the big leagues (Although Nathan was already a big leaguer).


7). Cubs Trade Lou Brock to Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz and Doug Clemens

This trade, at the time, seemed like the Cubs ripped the Cardinals off.

The three seasons Lou was with the Cubs, he hit .258 with 18 HR and 40 SB. While Ernie Broglio was an 18 game winner the year prior and had a 3.56 ERA with the Cardinals, destiny had other ideas.

Brock's stats after the trade were 888 SB, 2713 hits, six All-Star appearances, and two championships.

The two pitchers for the Cubs went a combined 8-21.


6). Mets trade Nolan Ryan, P Don Rose, C Francisco Estrada, and OF Leroy Stanton  to California Angels for  SS Jim Fregosi

The Mets didn't know what they had...clearly.

Nolan Ryan, of course, would go on to become one the All Time strikeout king and Fregosi...well...he didn't even stay with the Mets for two full seasons, as he was traded a year later to Texas.

Just in case you're wondering, Fregosi hit .237, with five HR and 32 RBI for the Mets, and Ryan went on to win 138 Games for the Angels.


5). Cincinnati Reds Trade Frank Robinson To Baltimore Orioles For Milt Pappas

This trade had the Reds give up HOF Frank Robinson and the Orioles give up Milt Pappas.

First off, Frank was coming off a year were he hit 33 HR, 113 RBI and a .296 BA. If the Reds wanted a decent Major League pitcher, they got it, as Milt put up a 3.83 ERA for their team.

But Frank Robinson  would hit 49 HR the next season, knocking in 122 runs and hitting .316 for the O's. To pour salt on the wound, Frank won the Triple Crown that year.


4). Golden State Warriors Trade C Robert Parish and 3rd Overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft (Kevin McHale) to the Boston Celtics for the 1st pick (Joe Carroll) and the 13th pick (Rickey Brown)

Wow, this trade has to be up there.

Robert Parish was a good player for the Warriors, in fact, before he was traded, he had two seasons where he averaged 17.0 points a game. When he was traded to the Celtics, his game went up a bit to 19.0 points a game.  

This trade was done so that the Celtics could grab Parish, but the star of this deal would be McHale because he would have a stretch of eight straight years averaging 18.0 PPG or more. With this trade, the Celtics acquired a HOF frontcourt duo, and when Mr. Larry Bird came to town, this trio would win three more Championships for the Celtics.

Carroll was a good NBA player for the first six years of his career, and Rickey Brown was a bust.


3). Baltimore Colts Trade John Elway to Denver Broncos for Mark Hermmann, Chris Hinton and a 1st round pick

Let me take you all back to 1983, when there was a lot of demand for the Colts' John Elway.

Now, I understand he didn't want to play for the Colts, but unlike the Kobe Bryant issue there was HIGH DEMAND for this guy.

You could have gotten back some real good talent for him, but Hermmann only was with the Colts for one season, Hinton was an okay player (he even made it to six Pro Bowls with the Colts) but John Elway went on to have a HOF career with 50,000 yards, 300 TD, and not to mention a two Super Bowl rings.


2). Dallas Cowboys Trade Herschel Walker and Four Draft Picks to the Minnesota Vikings for Jesse Solomon, David Howard, Isaac Holt and Eight Draft Picks Over Three Years

This trade would take literally an hour to explain, so I am just going to shorten it for you. After the three years of the picks, and literally seven trades later, this is what the respective teams had on their roster.

Vikings Cowboys
WR Jake Reed RB Emmitt Smith
  DT Russell Maryland
  CB Kevin Smith
  S Darren Woodson
  CB Clayton Holmes

With that Herschel trade, the Cowboys assembled their team, and with that roster, they went on to win three Super Bowls in a span of four years.


1). Boston trades Babe Ruth for $125,000 in cash and a $300,000 loan

Well, at least you got Lowe and Varitek, right Sox?

The year before, Ruth had hit a record 29 HR, so they knew he was a good player, but what this all boiled down to was that the Red Sox were too cheap.  They didn't want to pay Ruth $20,000 (that would double his salary).

So, Ruth was traded to the Yankees, and, well...he went on to become the greatest hitter in the history of MLB


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