Before There Was Doc: Analyzing Similiar Trades Prior To the Halladay-Lee Deal

FRANKCorrespondent IIDecember 18, 2009

31 Aug 1995:  Pitcher Pedro Martinez of the Montreal Expos lunges forward to deliver a pitch against the San Diego Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California.  The Expos defeated the Padres 5-4.  Mandatory Credit:  Steve Dunn/Allsport
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Roy Halladay trade to the Phillies is the latest move made by a team who either wants to get rid of salary or is afraid of losing the player to free agency.

It will take a few years before realizing if the Blue Jays gained the right pieces with the Halladay trade, but it seems that clubs have implemented the philosophy of getting whatever players they can before their star leaves on his own. This thinking has become popular over the past decade.

The Halladay trade will be the popular topic to discuss, but before there was Doc, there were other stars traded for similar reasons.

From good to bad, lets take a look at 12 similar trades.



Cleveland Indians Traded Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew to the Montreal Expos for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Lee Stevens (Jun. 2002)

It's amazing that the GM of the Expos at that time, Omar Minaya, would find another job after making this trade with the Indians, but my lovely Mets hired him and are now paying the price (but that's another article).

By 2002, it was becoming clear that baseball in Montreal was over. Commissioner Bud Selig was looking for a city to relocate the Expos, so when the team was in the race that summer, they decided to go for it all.

Going for it all meant trading three top prospects and a veteran.

Why not? Who knew how long they will last?

Colon won 10 games in the NL but the Expos could not catch the Atlanta Braves and finished 12 games out of the wild card. He was traded in the offseason prior to '03 to the Chicago White Sox.

As for the Indians, they decided to rebuild the organization after seven years of success (included two AL Pennants and six total division titles). GM John Hart wanted to refill the farm system, which was ransacked during the seven-year run to gather the pieces to bring home a championship.

Goal accomplished. The Indians won 93 games in 2005, Lee (18-5) and Sizemore (.289, 22 HR, 81 RBI) were the main reasons.


Pittsburgh Pirates Traded Brian Giles to the San Diego Padres for Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and Corey Stewart (Aug. 2003)

Acquiring Brian Giles for Ricardo Rincon was one of the Pirates' greatest heists. He provided MVP-like numbers and was selected to two All-Star games.

Unfortunately, the supporting cast was not very good and the Pirates decided to trim salary.

The Padres were not doing well themselves, but wanted to acquire an impact player to compete in '04.

Instead of getting the impact, clean-up hitter who hit close to 40 home runs, they got an on-base hitter who fit in the second hole. I don't think Giles' performance is what they wanted when they acquired him.

Bay stepped into Giles' spot in the lineup and replaced the pop they lost.

Oliver Perez went 12-9 with an ERA of 2.98 and 239 strikeouts in 2004.

The Pirates accomplished their goal of trimming salary, but continued to be cellar dwellers for the remainder of the decade.


Florida Marlins Traded Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota to the Boston Red Sox for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia (Nov. 2005)

Two years removed from winning the World Series, the Marlins decided to cut payroll and trade two of their top players to the Red Sox for four prospects.

Even though the two players have been instrumental in the Red Sox continued success, the trade was successful because the Marlins received Hanley Ramirez in return.

Ramirez won the Rookie of the Year award in 2006 and was selected to two All-Star games. He has turned into a perennial MVP-candidate.

The team still has faith that Sanchez will be a quality pitcher. He already has a no-hitter on his resume.


Oakland A's Traded Mark Mulder to the St. Louis Cardinals for Dan Haren, Daric Barton, and Kiko Calero (Dec. 2004)

GM Billy Beane always preached that the A's budget is limited, which is why it was no surprise that he traded away Tim Hudson. Then he did shock the world and traded away Mulder.

Despite trading away two thirds of the "Big Three" (with Barry Zito), the A's won 88 and 93 games over the next two years respectively.

Mulder won 16 games in '05, but has only won six since. The Cardinals have paid approximately $1 million per win.

For the A's, Haren won 14, 14, and 15 games respectively over the three years he played for them. He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks to regroup young, inexpensive talent; the same way he became an Athletic.

Calero had some mild success as a middle-setup reliever.



Florida Marlins Traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz, Mike Rabelo, and Dallas Trahern (Dec. 2007)

The Marlins are one of the main teams to incorporate the logic being discussed. It's a shame, because in their decade-and-half of existence they won two World Series titles and seem to always produce the best young talent.

This trade before the 2008 season is another prime example of needing to get rid of a player who was on the brink of making big money.

The good part of this trade is they shredded over $14 million off the payroll, which included a pitcher who has won only one game in 15 starts the past two years combined.

The bad part of the trade is that Cabrera is one of the best hitters in baseball and has continued to put up MVP-like numbers the past two years.

For this trade to be equal, Cameron Maybin will have perform like a Grady Sizemore or Miller needs to become a top-of-the-rotation pitcher that the Tigers expected.

Should both happen, the Marlins would be the winner of this trade.


Oakland A's Traded Matt Holiday to the St. Louis Cardinals for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson (Jul. 2009)

When Billy Beane acquired Holliday from the Rockies, everyone knew he was taking a small gamble that the team would compete for the AL West title and would trade him in July if they didn't.

The discussion should really be, "Did they get enough with the players mentioned above for Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez, and Greg Smith?"

The main component to the trade was getting 23-year-old third baseman Wallace, but for some reason, they just traded him away to Seattle for outfielder Michael Taylor.

These transactions will take a couple of years to develop before deciding who won.


Cleveland Indians Traded Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp, and Lou Marson (Jul. 2009)

As they did with Colon, the Indians were looking to gather prospects by trading away a top pitcher who they may not have been able to keep.

The main prize of the trade was Carrasco. The 22-year-old pitcher was named the organization's top prospect in 2006 and 2007.

They also received shortstop Donald, who played with the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, catcher Marson, who will get a long look this spring, and pitcher Knapp, drafted in the second round in 2008.


Kansas City Royals Traded Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros, in a Three-Way Deal, for Mark Teahan, Mike Wood, and John Buck (Jun. 2004)

Beltran was looking to get a big payday after the 2004 season and the Royals knew they couldn't afford the five-tool player.

Buck is still the team's catcher, but does not hit enough to keep the starting job. Though, he provides pop (18 HRs in 2007), his batting average (career .235) curtails his playing time.

Teahan has become a fine player who moved to the outfield to make room for Alex Gordon. He has hit 59 home runs over his five years in Kansas City.

Wood was a flop for the Royals and claimed off waivers by Texas in 2006.



Oakland A's Traded Tim Hudson to the Atlanta Braves for Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer, and Charlos Thomas (Dec. 2004)

Beane probably traded Mulder two days later because he knew his return on Hudson was not adequate. 

Cruz did not fair well in Oakland and was traded to Arizona a year later for Brad Halsey. 

Thomas will compete for a bench spot, but doesn't seem to offer much.

The main player in the trade was pitcher Dan Meyer, who had an ERA over 7.00 in the two years he pitched for Oakland. He was selected off waivers by Florida in 2008.


Montreal Expos Traded Pedro Martinez to the Boston Red Sox for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas (Nov. 1997)

Easy come, Easy go!

The Expos traded Delino DeShields to the Dodgers for Pedro Martinez in the early '90s, which is considered one of the greatest heists of that decade.

Justice was served for Dodger fans as the Expos traded the future Hall-of-Famer and '97 Cy Young winner away for two young pitchers that provided minimal success.

Pavano was 24-35 with an ERA of 4.83 during his stay.

Armas was 48-60 with an ERA of 4.45 over his eight years with Montreal/Washington.


Oakland A's Traded Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals for Eric Ludwick, TJ Matthews, and Blake Stein (Jul. 1997)

Not only was this trade completed to shred McGwire's contract and gather prospects, it was also to make room for Jason Giambi.

I do wonder if the trade was made because of his noticeable body change and apparent use of steroids...Let's not go there.

Ludwick (Ryan's brother) was 1-4 in his five starts for Oakland.

Stein was 5-9 with an ERA of 6.60 over his 25 games.

Matthews contributed most, with his 24-15 record and ERA of 4.78.


Minnesota Twins Traded Johan Santana to the New York Mets for Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber, Carlos Gomez, and Kevin Mulvey (Feb. 2008)

The most putrid return goes to the Twins.

Humber, former No. 1 pick, came over with arm problems and may move to the bullpen to stick with the club.

Mulvey, former second-round pick, was sent to Arizona this past September for Jon Rauch.

There's still hope that Guerra will save this trade for the Twins. He is still only 20 years old and was named in the organization's top 10 prospects.

Gomez has the most success in the majors, but was traded this offseason to the Brewers for JJ Hardy.

Santana has continued to be one of the best pitchers in the game with the Mets.

This transaction was another example of a trade being done before the star player reaches free agency.



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