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Boston Red Sox: Adrian Gonzalez and Their 10 Most Important Trades Since 2000

BrendanContributor IFebruary 1, 2011

Boston Red Sox: Adrian Gonzalez and Their 10 Most Important Trades Since 2000

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    A big market city, such as Boston, comes with big payrolls and even bigger expectations.

    Year after year the front office, coaches and fans expect a certain level of excellence from their players. If they do not live up to their potential then it's the general manager's job to find someone who can.

    It used to be that most players, especially stars, would start and finish their careers in the same uniform. However, since the introduction of free agency that is now rarely the case.

    Players on small market clubs are often the subject of trade rumors as their contract nears free agency to ensure their current teams gets value in return for their inevitable departure.

    Such was the case this offseason when the Padres shipped Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox in exchange for a collection of prospects.

    Other times general managers have to address team needs in an attempt to build a roster that has a realistic shot at a World Series Championship. Theo Epstein went this route in what many baseball minds would consider the most controversial and talked about trade in Red Sox history.

    In an effort to originally reverse the curse, and since to remain a top power in baseball, the Red Sox have made several significant and brash deals since the turn of the millennium.

    Here is how all those deals stack up in a ranking of the ten most important trades the Boston Red Sox have made since 2000.

10. Doug Mirabelli Trade, 2001/2006

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    The Red Sox actually traded for Mirabelli on two separate occasions since 2000.

    First he was brought in from the Texas Rangers in 2001 after Jason Varitek suffered a major injury. The second and more memorable transaction came in 2006 when the Sox brought him back from San Diego in exchange for Josh Bard and Cla Meredith.

    In 2006, the Sox desperately needed Mirabelli's services because Bard struggled mightily to catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. At the time Bard had given up 10 passed balls in just seven games.

    With a game against the Yankees on tap, the Sox made the move for the trusted backstop and had a police escort rush him to Fenway Park so he could get the starting nod.

    Mirabelli only played a minor role in his days with the Sox, but did manage to play a part in the two World Series Championships.

    Plus, he gained almost a cult following in Boston thanks in part to the "Dougie's Going Deep Tonight" writing.

9. Byung-Hyun Kim Trade, 2003

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    Kim actually had a surprisingly productive second half of the season for the Sox after he was acquired in May of 2003 in exchange for Shea Hillenbrand.

    He finished 8-5, with a 3.18 ERA, and 16 saves as he bounced back and forth from starter to closer. The following season he absolutely imploded and was really never able to regain the form of a once promising career.

    However, it is not Kim's acquisition that go this trade on this list but instead the departure of Shea Hillenbrand.

    Until that point in the season Hillenbrand and Bill Mueller had been splitting time at third base. However, the Sox chose to make the deal because Mueller had shown he was healthy from previous knee injuries and secretly they know the problem Hillenbrand could be in the clubhouse.

    From that point forward Mueller took over third base and did not disappoint. He finished the season with an American league best .326 batting average to go with 19 HR and 85 RBI.

    In July that same year Mueller became the first player to hit a grand slam from different sides of the plate, and he was also briefly considered an MVP candidate.

    Mueller also played third during the magical 2004 season and hit a monumental single off Mariano Rivera to prolong the Red Sox season.

8. Coco Crisp Trade, 2006

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    Many Red Sox fans may consider Crisp's stay in Boston to be somewhat disappointing considering his battle with numerous injuries and inconsistently at the plate.

    That being said, he also brought a lot to the table for the Sox after he was acquired from Cleveland in exchange for a package of players highlighted by prospect Andy Marte, reliever Guillermo Mota and catcher Kelly Shoppach.

    Crisp stole at least 20 bases in all three of his seasons in Boston, including a career-high 28 during their 2007 World Series campaign.

    He also played an excellent centerfield and had a knack for highlight reel catches. Most notably was his catch up against the wall in Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS that sent the Red Sox on to meet the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.

    Meanwhile Marte never really developed into the player that many projected he would be so the Sox gave up very little in the process.

7. Dave Roberts Trade, 2004

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    It may seem odd to include a pinch runner and defensive replacement this high on the list, but Roberts significance certainly warrants his ranking.

    He was acquired in a mid-season deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a minor league pitcher and proved worth every penny.

    Roberts stolen base off Mariano Rivera in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS is undeniably the biggest theft in Red Sox history. It put him in scoring position and he eventually was driven in by a Bill Mueller single.

    Roberts aggressiveness on the base paths sent the game into extra innings and the rest is history. His heroics will also be folklore in Boston for years to come.

    Not too bad for a journeyman player picked up as a part time piece to the puzzle.

6. Alex Rodriguez Trade?, 2003

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    The deal that never happened deserves to be on this list because it was arguably the biggest trade soap opera since 2000. On top of that the fact that the deal never did happen changed the history of the Red Sox forever.

    In December of 2003 it seemed imminent that the Red Sox and Rangers would swap $20 million stars Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez.

    Things got so close at one point that the well regarded Peter Gammons said the deal would be official within 24 hours. Even Kevin Millar, Red Sox first baseman and clubhouse personality, commented that the Red Sox were better with Alex Rodriguez.

    The deal was actually agreed upon by the two sides but the players union would not back anything that required a player to restructure a contract for less money even if the player deemed it appropriate.

    Just as quickly as the Sox trade fell apart, the Yankees made the move for A-Rod. At his introductory press conference Rodriguez himself even claimed that he "felt he already had one leg in a Red Sox uniform." This deal just threw gasoline on the fire of what was already the greatest rivalry in sports.

    Surprisingly, this was a blessing in disguise for the Red Sox. The next season Ramirez lead the American League in home runs and outproduced Rodriguez in every major statistical category in route to a World Series MVP.

5. Manny Ramirez Trade, 2008

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    The magnitude of this deal at the time was obvious by the reaction it received in Boston. Some fans saw the incidents between Ramirez and the Red Sox as inexcusable and realized a change was necessary.

    In the two months prior to the July trade Ramirez had a  disagreement that turned violent with the well respected Kevin Youkilis, a physical altercation with the team traveling secretary and consistently displayed poor attitude with a lack of hustle and several refusals to take the field.

    However, on the other side of the spectrum he was the 2004 World Series MVP and was one of the most feared hitters in the American League dating back to his arrival in Boston in 2001.

    Ramirez's play was as stable as his behavior was erratic. He topped the 30 home run and 100 RBI plateaus in six of his seven full seasons in Boston.

    Sox ownership knew his production would be difficult to replace but still chose to deal Ramirez, and possible closer of the future Chris Hansen, in a three team deal that netted Boston Jason Bay.

    Neither major player in the deal went on to lead their team to a championship and Hansen still has not found his niche in on the big stage. However, Ramirez did have an outstanding second half of the year with the Dodgers, and Bay was everything Sox could have hoped in his year and a half stay.

    Even though this deal really had no apparent long term ramifications it is impossible to deal a player of Ramirez's caliber and have it not be important.

    If nothing else this deal has altered the workings of the Red Sox organization and clubhouse right through to the current day.

4. Adrian Gonzalez Trade, 2010

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    This deal is one that is obviously hard to rank considering Gonzalez is yet to even put on a Red Sox uniform. However, with his skill set it has the ability to have as much impact as any on this list.

    Due to financial restrictions, the Padres knew Gonzalez would be playing elsewhere in 2012 and thus decided to fetch a return for their former franchise cornerstone.

    In exchange the Padres received highly touted right handed pitcher Casey Kelly and first basement Anthony Rizzo along with a few other prospects. Kelly, at just 21 years young, is widely considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball.

    However Gonzalez is a two time Gold Glove winner, three time All Star, and perennially MVP candidate. Last season he batted .298 with 31 home runs and 101 RBI and a move from spacious PETCO to a park that seems tailor made for his swing can only up his value.

    This ranking comes with a major asterisk because if Gonzalez is able to bring big production and playoff success to Boston he could move even higher up the list.

3. Josh Beckett Trade, 2005

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    Deciding on a title for this slide was actually harder than you might imagine. After all Beckett was not the only player in this deal who made a significant impact on his new club.

    Beckett was dealt along with Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to Boston in exchange for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia.

    Beckett deserves to still be mentioned as the cornerstone of the deal. After an inconsistent first year in Boston he came back strong in 2006 to the tune of 20-7, with a 3.26 ERA and a second place finish in the American League Cy Young award.

    Perhaps most importantly was his postseason performances that led to a second World Series title in just four years. Beckett went 4-0 with 10.5 K/9 as the staff ace the Sox had desperately needed him to be when they traded for him.

    Mike Lowell ended up having a productive five season in Boston that included a World Series MVP award in 2007.

    The only thing that keeps this deal from being even higher on the list is the player the Sox had to part with. Hanley Ramirez turned out to be everything the Marlins could have imagined and more. Currently he is almost undeniably the best shortstop in the game.

    With that said the Sox made the right move by going for it all with a veteran club that needed immediate pitching help and Hanley Ramirez, as great as he is, is well worth the price of a second World Series ring.

2. Nomar Garciaparra Trade, 2004

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    The day that Nomar Garciaparra was traded sent Red Sox Nation into a state of shock. He was the Red Sox golden boy shortstop who had been with the club for nine productive seasons.

    However, partly due to disagreements over the severity of Garciaparra's injuries, Epstein decided to put his career in Boston on the line and trade the then five time All-Star.

    Citing porous infield defense that could become a fatal flaw the Red Sox made the move to bring in Gold Glove winners Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz.

    From that point forward the Sox seemed to mesh perfectly going 42-19 to end the season and breaking a curse that seemed destined to go on forever.

    Many Sox fans believe the acquisition Cabrera (and the departure of Garciaparra) created a clubhouse chemistry that propelled Boston.

    In many regards, it is tough for anyone to argue against this theory seeing how the season turned out for the group of idiots. Still almost any Red Sox fan would agree that it is a tragedy Nomar Garciaparra never got to win a ring in Beantown.

1. Curt Schilling Trade, 2003

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    Fresh off a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the hated New York Yankees, the Red Sox looked to revamp their roster and, in particular, their rotation.

    The Diamondbacks were looking to cut payroll and after being briefly courted by the New York Yankees the Sox decided to jump in on the action to acquire the former World Series MVP.

    On the weekend after Thanksgiving the Sox finalized with the Diamondbacks that would reunite Schilling with his former manager Terry Francona in Boston. In exchange, the Sox parted with Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa and Michael Goss.

    In retrospect, that seems to be a steal for the Sox based on what they went on to accomplish and the little they gave up. But hindsight is always 20/20.

    At the time Casey Fossum was looked at as a future ace and Brandon Lyon actually did go on to help the Diamondbacks for several years.

    That being said, this deal is the No. 1 most important deal for a reason. Schilling did not mince words when he came to Boston and quickly stated that he was there to break the curse and bring a World Series Championship to Boston.

    Schilling certainly delivered going 21-6 with a 3.24 ERA and a second place finish in the Cy Young award in 2004. Most importantly he helped the Sox avenge the previous season (or centuries) defeat to the Yankees by beating them in the famous bloody sock incident during Game 6 of the ALCS.

    The rest is history. Schilling and the Red Sox went on to break the 86 year curse by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in a four game sweep. As if that was not enough he also helped the Sox win the 2007 World Series

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