Babe Ruth Leads List of Worst Trades in MLB History

Micah SecorCorrespondent IJune 17, 2008

Lousy trades in baseball will often cripple franchises and frustrate loyal fans for years. Some trades I've seen have absolutely amazed me at how plain stupid they were. And while that sounds like a simple observation, it's the cold, hard truth. So let's take a look at some of the worst trades in MLB History:

January 3, 1920: Boston Red Sox Owner Harry Frazee sold pitcher/outfielder Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for cash (reportedly $125,000 plus a loan) to pay for his Broadway Play, "No, No, Nanette."

This began the Red Sox 86 year World Series drought as the Yankees dominated for the next century, winning an astounding 26 championships and establishing a dynasty. Ruth is considered to be one of the greatest players ever as he ended baseball's dead-ball era as a prolific home-run hitter.

August 12, 1987: The Detroit Tigers sent a promising young pitcher in John Smoltz to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Doyle Alexander.

A laughable trade that sent a future HOFer who has gone on to win 210 games and save 154, for a 37 year-old pitcher who played only one season with the Tigers. Are you kidding me?

May 25, 1989: The Montreal Expos sent pitchers Randy Johnson, Gene Harris, and Brian Holman to the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Mike Campbell and Mark Langston.

While Johnson was struggling at the time with an ERA over six and no wins, he was 26-years-old and had a lights out fastball. The Expos got two and a half months from Langston, and Campbell never played for them. Simply put, a lopsided trade as Johnson dominated and helped put the Mariners back into contention.

August 30, 1990: The Boston Red Sox traded first baseman Jeff Bagwell to the Houston Astros for pitcher Larry Andersen.

Red Sox fans continue to cringe at this trade as Bagwell had a remarkable, HOF career and Andersen played a whole two and a half months for the Red Sox before signing with the Padres at the end of the season. Nice move.

March 30, 1992: The Chicago White Sox dealt outfielder Sammy Sosa and pitcher Ken Patterson to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder George Bell.

Sosa became a premier power hitter as Bell batted only .236 in his two year tenure with the White Sox before dropping out of the Majors for good. Talk about getting your money's worth for the White Sox.

November 19, 1993: The Los Angeles Dodgers swapped promising pitcher Pedro Martinez to the Montreal Expos for infielder Delino DeShields.

Horrible trade for the Dodgers as team doctor Frank Jobe declared him to be too small to be an effective Major League Pitcher. Deshields batted a measly .243 in his three years with the Dodgers as Pedro went on to become one of the best pitchers in the Majors.

July 31, 1997: The Mariners sent Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Red Sox for crumbling closer Heathcliff Slocumb.

Lowe and Varitek were the centerpieces of the 2004 Championship team and have gone on to have productive careers while Slocumb was out of baseball by 2001.

November 18, 1997: The Tampa Bay Devil Rays dealt outfielder Bobby Abreu to the Philadelphia Phillies for shortstop Kevin Stocker.

Wow. The Rays landed Abreu with the sixth pick in the expansion draft to help build their team. Abreu would have been a good cornerstone to build around. As a 23-year-old, he had sky-high potential and was primed for a breakout season. But this did not stop the Rays from dealing him on the day they drafted him.

While he had only hit .238 in 74 games with the Astros in his first two years, he had that breakout season with the Phillies as Stocker was a complete bust, batting .256 in this two and a half seasons with Tampa Bay.

November 13, 2003: The San Francisco Giants traded pitchers Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser to Twins for A.J. Pierzynski.

A.J. only played one season for the Giants before getting released while Nathan went on to save 160 games in the next four seasons. Liriano had an excellent '06 season, but sat out the '07 season after having Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. He is regaining his touch in the minors and will be recalled soon. Keep in mind, he is only 25.

July 30, 2004: The New York Mets sent pitcher Scott Kazmir and infielder Jose Diaz to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano.

A brainless trade that Mets' fans still think about. As a young fireballer, Kazmir is the ace of the Rays as he compiled 41 wins and a 3.49 ERA in his first four seasons. He is only 24 and has a bright future ahead of him.

Fortunato was awful, pitching 21 innings for the Mets, allowing 17 earned runs, earning him a release only a year later.

Zambrano was horrendous as well, posting a dreadful 5.84 ERA in his two and a half year tenure with the Mets.

You've seen some pretty awful trades that have derailed franchises. There are others, such as the Schilling trade or the McGwire trade.

It's pretty sad at how stupid some general managers are. Many of these trades were the swap of a promising young player for a seasoned veteran. I didn't see one veteran player make it past two and a half seasons with his team, while the younger players have gone on to have stellar careers.

So give me your worst trade of all time. For me as a Dodgers' fan, its a toss up between the Konerko trade and the Pedro trade. Thoughts?