MLB Trade Deadline: The 10 Biggest Pennant-Changing Deals of the 2000s
The trade deadline can be a defining moment during the season.
The trade deadline allows teams that buy to transform themselves from a contender into World Series champions, while the teams that sell start to look toward the future.
Not every deal that has been made in recent memory has worked out (see July 31, 2004: Mets trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano), but there are plenty of other deals that have.
As we wait anxiously for the 2010 trade deadline, hoping our favorite team adds that special player who will make the difference, in the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy.
As I present " MLB Trade Deadline: The 10 Biggest Pennant-Changing Deals of the 2000s."
These are the ten best deadline deals made by a contender in the last decade, that have paid major dividends for that team.
Is your favorite team on here?
It's time to find out.
10. Aaron Boone Is Traded To The New York Yankees (August 1, 2003)
Trade: New York Yankees trade minor league left-handers Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning and cash to the Cincinnati Reds for Aaron Boone. New York then trades third baseman Robin Ventura to Los Angeles for two minor league prospects.
How can this trade not be on this list?
Minutes before the non-waiver trade deadline passed, the Reds shipped Aaron Boone, who was hitting .273 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI on the season to the Yankees. While the Yankees sent Robin Ventura, who was hitting .251 with nine home runs and 42 RBI, to the Dodgers.
Although Boone wasn't an essential part of the Yankees during the regular season, hitting only .254, his struggles continued into the playoffs hitting .200 vs. the Twins in the ALDS and .176 vs. the Red Sox in the ALCS.
But everything changed with one swing of the bat.
Bottom of 11th inning, Game Seven of the 2003 ALCS.
I think we all know what happened, and for one more year, "The Curse of the Bambino" lived.
9. Jermaine Dye Is Traded To The Oakland Athletics (July 26, 2001)
Trade: Kansas City Royals trade Jermaine Dye to the Colorado Rockies for Neifi Perez, then the Rockies trade Dye to the Oakland Athletics for three minor league prospects: infielder Jose Ortiz, outfielder Mario Encarnacion and left-handed pitcher Todd Belitz.
Although Dye was having an off-year offensively, hitting only .272 with 13 home runs and 47 RBI, the A's basically gave up nobody to obtain the former Gold Glove winner and All-Star starter.
Dye filled in perfectly in the A's lineup right behind behind AL MVP Jason Giambi, batting .297 with 13 home runs and 59 RBi in 61 games for Oakland.
The A's ran away with the wild card with 102 wins, but to this day, the A's are still wondering...
What if Jeremy Giambi had slid? How different that season could've been?
8. David Justice Is Traded To The New York Yankees (June 29, 2000)
Trade: The New York Yankees trade outfielder Ricky Ledee and pitchers Jake Westbrook and Zach Day to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder David Justice.
At the time of this trade, the Cleveland's Indians were five-time defending AL Central division champions with a record of 40-37, sitting in second place. While the Yankees, who were a two-time defending AL East division champions were at 38-35, also in second place.
Unable to acquire Sammy Sosa or Juan Gonzalez from their respective clubs, the Yankees were desperately looking to add a slugger to their lineup, and they settled for David Justice.
At the age of 34, Justice was hitting .265 with 21 home runs and a team-high 58 RBI for Cleveland before heading to the Bronx.
The Yankees acquired Justice to be a long-ball threat, and in 275 at-bats, (78 regular season games), Justice belted 20 home runs, to go along with 60 RBI, a .305 batting average and a .977 OPS. the ALCS,
Justice was named the 2000 ALCS MVP en route to his second World Series championship.
The Yankees took a chance on the veteran, and based on his performance in pinstripes, it was certainly well worth the risk.
7. Manny Ramirez Is Traded To the L.A. Dodgers (July 31, 2008)
Trade: Boston Red Sox trade Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Craig Hanson and Brandon Moss to Pittsburgh Pirates. Los Angeles Dodgers trade Bryan Morris and Andy LaRoche to Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh Pirates trade Jason Bay and Josh Wilson to Boston Red Sox.
The story was simple.
Manny Ramirez needed a change of scenery. He needed out of Bean-town.
So with a unhappy Ramirez in Boston, the Red Sox were forced to trade their disgruntled superstar.
From the East coast to the West Coast Ramirez went, as Chavez Ravine became Mannywood, and the Dodgers become serious contenders in the National League.
The Dodgers were happy to bring in the soap opera known as Manny Ramirez, and the "Manny Show" was nothing but a success.
The slugger hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI, leading the Dodgers to a first-round playoff victory over the Cubs, before falling to the eventual World Series champion, Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS.
You might not like his antics, or his in-game stunts. But there's no denying, Ramirez is one of the elite players in the game, and if he's on your team, you'll always find yourself cheering for him.
And as proven many times before, no matter what team he plays for or what uniform he's wearing, Ramirez will always be a difference maker.
6. Curt Schilling Is Traded To The Arizona Diamondbacks (July 26, 2000)
Trade: Philadelphia Phillies trade Curt Schilling to Arizona Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, and Vicente Padilla.
Although the impact of Schilling's trade wasn't felt till the following season, the Diamondbacks' acquisition of Schilling cannot be overlooked.
We all remember the bloody sock, and his courageous pitching performances for the Red Sox in 2004, but it's what Schilling did for the Diamondbacks, that has earned him a spot on this list.
Despite going 1-5 down stretch (5-6 overall), with a 3.69 ERA and missing the playoffs in 2000, Arizona's addition of Schilling would pay major dividends in 2001, especially in the playoffs.
The following season Schilling, who went 22-6 to go along with a 2.98 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 293 strikeouts, was undoubtedly Arizona's go-to guy, as proven in the playoffs.
He went 4–0 with a 1.12 ERA in the playoffs, en route to one of the most memorable World Series championships in baseball history. Schilling would share the 2001 World Series MVP Award with four-time Cy Young award winner (including 2001) and teammate, Randy Johnson.
You could say the Diamondbacks were beginning their World Series run when they acquired Schilling in 2000, forming the greatest 1-2 punch in the game.
You could say the Diamondbacks didn't deserve to defeat the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series.
You could say that if Mariano Rivera doesn't throw the ball into center field, the Yankees win their fourth championship in a row.
But after looking back on the 2001 season, there is no debating this trade changed the landscape of Major League Baseball forever.
Because after the 27th out of the 2001 World Series was recorded in the Desert and the D-backs were crowned champions, we were all witnesses to "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty."
A new era in baseball was beginning, and Schilling was leading the charge.
5. Matt Holliday Is Traded To The St. Louis Cardinals (July 24, 2009)
Trade: Oakland Athletics trade Matt Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson.
Having to pay a steep price to obtain the three-time All-Star, Matt Holliday, by giving up a two-time Pac-10 Player of the Year, and two-time Triple Crown Winner at Arizona State University, Brett Wallace, Holliday became the perfect complement to Albert Pujols in the Cardinals batting order.
In 63 games, Holliday hit .353, with 13 home runs and 55 RBI as Holliday provided a much needed spark to the Cardinals offense.
The Cardinals compiled a 20-6 record in August, won the National League Central division title, and made the playoffs for the first time in three years.
But despite all the regular season success Holliday experienced in his first few months in a Cardinals uniform, Holliday struggled in the 2009 postseason batting .167 to go along with a .231 OBP and a .417 slugging percentage.
However, Holliday will always be remembered for the dropped line-drive with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game Two, which would have tied the divisional playoff series at one game apiece. Instead, he and the Cardinals went on to be swept 0-3 by the Dodgers.
The following off-season, Holliday signed a seven-year, $120 million deal with the Cardinals, as the Cardinals are hoping the lethal hitting combination of Holliday and Pujols and can take them deeper into the playoffs than they managed last year.
The acquisition of Holliday could be the start of something special in St. Louis. It's only a matter of time until we see it happen.
4. Cliff Lee Is Traded To The Philadelphia Phillies (July 29,2009)
Trade: Cleveland Indians trade Cliff Lee, along with outfielder Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies, for Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, and Jason Knapp.
Coming off a World Series championship, as the 2009 trade deadline approached, the Phillies were looking for rotation help since they ranked near the bottom of the league in team ERA (4.61) and opponents batting average (.270) prior to the All-Star break.
With a deep farm system and the knowledge that he'd approve a trade to Philadelphia, it appeared the Phillies were the best match for landing Roy Halladay, but the Toronto Blue Jays instead decided to hold on, and the Phillies opted for the 2008 Cy Young award winner, Lee, instead.
Not a bad decision obtaining Lee turned out to be, as it certainly didn't take long for Lee to make a statement in Philadelphia.
In his first career game with the Phillies, Lee pitched a complete game in a 5-1 victory. In his first five starts with the Phillies, Lee amassed a 5–0 record, 39 strikeouts in 40 innings pitched, and a 0.68 ERA.
He was just getting started.
After posting a 2-0 record in the first two rounds of the playoffs, in Game One of the 2009 World Series, Lee performed brilliantly, becoming the first pitcher since 1903 to pitch a complete game in the World Series, while recording 10 or more strikeouts and not walking a single batter.
Although Lee wasn't as brilliant in Game Five, he earned another victory allowing five runs and three walks while striking out three in seven innings.
Heading to Philadelphia, Lee never had any postseason experience. Unsure of how he would handle the pressure of the postseason, Lee silenced all doubters with his performances on the mound.
Despite falling short of winning their second consecutive World Series title, Lee made a huge impact for the Phillies. He was arguably the best pitcher in baseball down the stretch, and led the Phillies to a 93-69 record, en route to their third consecutive NL East division title.
Whether he stays in Seattle or finishes the season somewhere else, wherever Lee winds up after the 2010 trade deadline, that team can count on him to be at his best in the heat of any playoff race.
Lee has proven no matter what the moment is, or what team he's pitching for, he's one of the best pitchers in the game.
3. Mark Teixeira Is Traded To The Anaheim Angels (July 30, 2008)
Trade: Anaheim Angels trade first baseman Casey Kotchman and pitching prospect Stephen Marek to the Atlanta Braves for Mark Teixeira .
After turning down an eight-year, $140 million contract extension from the Rangers, in 2007 , Mark Teixeira was traded to the Atlanta Braves, leaving the Angels the runner-up in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes
In July of 2008, although he was only a rental for two months, the Angels finally got their superstar.
Not being known to land the all-start caliber player, the Angels made the kind of blockbuster deal they're often accused of never making when they acquired Teixeira, making them the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series..
At the time of the trade, the Angels sat atop of the AL West division with a record of 60-47, and had an 11.5 game lead over the second place, Texas Rangers.
But one of the weakest part of an offense that ranked near the middle of the pact of the AL was at first base.
Prior to the acquisition of Teixeira, all Angels first basemen were hitting .282, with 24 doubles, 12 home runs, 53 RBI and a .433 slugging percentage.
While Teixeira was hitting .283, compiled 27 doubles, 20 home runs, 78 RBI, and a .512 slugging percentage.
Not that the Angels needed the addition of Teixeira, but he certainly helped
Teixeira hit .358 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs after the trade, and led his new team to their first 100 win season in franchise history.
Although the Angels lost to the Red Sox in the 2008 ALCS, Teixeira made his presence felt. He took a first place team, and turned them into one of the favorites in the American League, making the most of his time playing for the Angels in California.
2. Carlos Beltran Is Traded To The Houston Astros (June 24, 2004)
Trade: In a three-club deal, the Oakland Athletics trade pitcher Mike Wood and third baseman Mark Teahen to the Kansas City Royals; the Houston Astros trade catcher John Buck and cash to the Royals and pitcher Octavio Dotel to the Athletics; and the Royals trade outfielder Carlos Beltran to the Astros.
Sitting in fourth place at 38-34, the Astros were searching for a spark to turn them into a playoff contender.
In comes Carlos Beltran.
The Astros got red hot down the stretch by recording a win-loss record of 17-11 in August, 20-7 in September, and 3-0 in October, en route to winning the NL Wild Card. Then with a post-season performance for the ages, Beltran and the Astros came within one game of advancing to their first World Series in franchise history.
In 12 playoff games, Beltran performed like a future Hall of Famer batting .433 with 14 RBI and 8 home run, tying Barry Bonds' single postseason home run record.
Beltran not only had a fabulous second half, hitting 23 home runs, to go along with 53 runs and stealing 28 bases, but it was his postseason performance that made Beltran one of the greatest mid-season acquisitions of all-time.
1. CC Sabathia Is Traded To The Milwaukee Brewers (July 7, 2008)
Trade: Cleveland Indians trade CC Sabathia to Milwaukee Brewers for Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson, and Taylor Green.
Seeking a playoff berth for the first time since 1982, the Milwaukee Brewers made the greatest trade deadline acquisition of the past decade by acquiring AL Cy Young award winner, CC Sabathia.
Despite giving up four prospects, and fully understanding this move was a major gamble since it favored the present instead of looking at the future, the Brewers were willing to part-ways with some of the best prospects in baseball in order to acquire Sabathia.
As of July 7, 2008, the Brewers were 49-40, and sitting in third place in the NL Central, trailing the Chicago Cubs by four games. But the landscape of the division drastically changed, when Sabathia became a Brewer.
Sabathia's second half performance will always be remembered as one of the most memorable runs by a pitcher in recent baseball history. Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA down the stretch, leading the Brewers to the National League wild card and a playoff berth.
Seven of his 17 starts for Milwaukee were complete games, including three shutouts, while averaging nearly eight innings per start (130.2 IP, 106 H, 25 BB, 128 SO).
Sabathia was spectacular in the regular season for the Brewers.
And although it was not his fault due to pitching on three days' rest multiple times, Sabathia faltered in the playoffs as displayed by his performance in Game Two of the NLDS, surrendering 5 runs in 3.2 innings.
Sabathia single handedly led the Brewers to the playoffs, and despite being a Yankee fan, I'm just thankful I was able to witness one of the greatest pitching performances (over a period of time) in baseball history.