Seattle Mariners Trade Deadline: 7 Worst Deadline Deals in Mariners History

Barrett HansenAnalyst IIJuly 29, 2011

Seattle Mariners Trade Deadline: 7 Worst Deadline Deals in Mariners History

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    The Seattle Mariners are notorious around the league for making terrible deadline deals.

    Over the past 15 years, the Mariners have often found themselves one good trade away from making a run at the postseason. 

    Time and time again, Seattle makes a trade that not only fails to get the team into the playoffs, but also hurts the franchise for years to come.

    Here are the seven worst deadline deals in Seattle Mariner history.

2000: John Mabry and Tom Davey to San Diego for Al Martin

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    In Seattle, Al Martin is often referred to as the worst starter on one of the best teams in baseball history for his abysmal production in the outfield during the Mariners' incredible 2001 season.

    Martin was actually a decent player when he played in Pittsburgh, where he accumulated a .280 average over eight seasons. But he just crashed and burned once he got to Seattle.

    If only Martin was just a bad player. Instead, he was a knucklehead, saying all sorts of random stuff.

    His most notorious incident was when he compared a collision with Seattle shortstop Carlos Guillen to his days playing strong safety at USC, specifically when he supposedly tackled Michigan running back Leroy Hoard back in 1986.

    The only problem with the story was that USC has no record of him playing on the football team or even attending the school, which is understandable given that Martin was drafted straight out of high school and was playing in Atlanta's farm system at the time.

    The best part is that Michigan and USC didn't even play that year. The legendary USC-Michigan Rose Bowl game with Leroy Hoard occurred in 1989, not 1986.

    Another random fact: Al Martin was at one point married to two women at the same time. 

    It's fair to say the team would have been better off without the crazy outfielder.

2010: Cliff Lee to Texas Rangers for Justin Smoak, Blake Beaven, Josh Lueke

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    The Cliff Lee situation was a tough one all around for the Seattle Mariners.

    There's no reason they should have acquired the Cy Young winner in the first place. The team was at least several bats away from being a serious contender, and Cliff Lee was realistically nothing more than a one-year rental.

    Regardless, Lee had a pretty successful first half in 2010. Consider that in 103.2 innings for Seattle, Lee struck out 89 and walked six.

    Yes, you read that correctly. The man walked less than one batter per 17 innings.

    Lee was the belle of the ball at the deadline last year. He should have fetched more than a package centered on Justin Smoak.

    The slugging first baseman is still young, and could end up being a cornerstone of the Mariners for years to come. 

    But right now, there's not a lot to love about Smoak's .223/.319/.393 line.

1997: Jose Cruz, Jr. to Toronto for Paul Spoljaric and Mike Timlin

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    The Jose Cruz Jr. trade was a classic case of the Seattle Mariners improperly getting the appropriate value for their players.

    At the time of the trade, Cruz was Seattle's No. 1 prospect. A top outfield minor leaguer should be able to net a team more than two relievers.

    It hurts even more that neither Timlin nor Spoljaric had any success in a Mariner uniform.

    Now, 14 years later, we can see that the deal wasn't the end of the world. Cruz bounced around the big leagues, never fully realizing his potential.

    Cruz did have some success though, winning the Gold Glove Award in 2003 while on the San Francisco Giants. In an ironic twist of fate, days before receiving the award, Cruz dropped a routine fly ball in the 13th inning of a critical Game 3 NLDS match-up against the Marlins

    The dropped ball sparked a rally, and Florida went on to win the game and the series. 

2006: Asdrubal Cabrera to Cleveland for Eduardo Perez

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    The Asdrubal Cabrera trade really hurts now, as Cabrera is having a career year in Cleveland.

    Seattle gave up their shortstop prospect to the Indians for Eduardo Perez, a 35-year-old 1B/OF who had mostly been relegated to pinch-hitting duties.

    A .247 career hitter, Perez was hitting .303 in 108 first half at-bats for Cleveland. Rather than taking into consideration that the aging slugger had not hit above .255 since 2003, Seattle went out and acquired him.

    Perez hit .195 with a double and a homer for the balance of the year, bringing his season average to a very foreseeable .253. He retired after the season ended.

    The 25-year-old Cabrera has a bright career ahead of him, and has to be missed as the Mariners currently employ Brendan Ryan at short.

2005: Randy Winn to San Francisco Giants for Jesse Fopert, Yorvit Torrealba

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    Even though Randy Winn wasn't going to figure into the Seattle Mariners' long-term plans, they still should have gotten more for him.

    Winn went on to have four-and-a-half good years with San Francisco, hitting above .300 twice and stealing between 10 and 25 bases each year.

    He was undoubtedly a valuable trade asset, having hit above .290 in 2003 and 2004.

    But the Mariners just got Jesse Foppert and Yorvit Torrealba back for him.

    Torrealba was San Francisco's backup catcher at the time, and was a necessary acquisition given the imminent departure of Miguel Olivo—why Olivo needed to be traded is still beyond me.

    Foppert was the centerpiece of the trade however, but he never appeared in a major league game in a Mariner uniform.

    In all fairness, Foppert was rated San Francisco's top prospect as recently as 2004.

    But his major league track record was very questionable. In 2003, Foppert went 8-9 with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.46 SO:BB ratio, but appeared in just four games over the next two seasons.

    Seattle clearly didn't scout Foppert very well, and relied too heavily on San Francisco's valuation of their own player.

2006: Shin-Soo Choo, Shawn Nottingham to Cleveland for Ben Broussard and Cash

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    The Cleveland Indians made like thieves with Mariner prospects in 2006.

    The year 2006 was a strange one for the AL West. On July 26, the day this trade was executed, the Seattle Mariners were in last place, yet only three games out. 

    It made sense to acquire a veteran bat to make a run at a wide-open division.

    Except Seattle went out and got Ben Broussard, a 29-year-old 1B/OF who had never hit above .275 for a full season.

    At the time, Seattle already had Richie Sexson at first, and Ichiro and Ibañez taking up corner outfield spots.

    They had also just traded for one Ceveland .270-career hitting-1B/OF-who-was-flukily-hitting-above-.300-for-the-first-half (Eduardo Perez), and he was doing terribly.

    The team apparently didn't learn its lesson. 

    Broussard hit .238 for the rest of the year, and the Mariners remained in the cellar. The next year, Broussard hit (surprise) .275.

    The worst part of the deal was that Broussard was hitting .321 in the first half, making him quite expensive. The Mariners had to pony up and part with two prospects.

    One of those prospects was Shin-Soo Choo, who has hit .294 or better each of his five seasons in Cleveland. He is coming off two consecutive 20/20 seasons.

    With Seattle's current outfield woes, the Choo deal looks pretty terrible in retrospect.

1997: Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to Boston for Heathcliff Slocumb

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    Seven years after the Seattle Mariners traded Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe, they both celebrated a World Series Championship with the Boston Red Sox.

    There had been concerns about Derek Lowe's mental game ever since he was drafted, but there was no doubt that he had dominant stuff.

    That he was 2-4 with a 6.96 ERA halfway through his first season should have been no surprise to the Seattle Mariners. But instead the organization panicked and dumped him and minor league catching prospect Jason Varitek for mid-level closer Heathcliff Slocumb.

    Ah, Slocumb, the man who never learned how to use the top button of his shirt. A solid but unspectacular closer in '95 and '96, Slocumb was pretty awful in the first half of the '97 season, going 0-5 with a 5.79 ERA and a staggering 1.97 WHIP.

    Yet the Mariners just looked at the 17 saves and gunned for him. He rewarded the team with a year and a half of atrocious closing, going 2-9 with a 4.97 ERA and just 13 saves.

    This move has to be up there with the Babe Ruth sale as one of the worst trades in baseball history.