Each trade deadline produces several players that wind up being only two-month rental players.
The team that traded the player knows it won’t be able to re-sign him so they attempt to get at least something in return. Meanwhile, the team that acquires the player may not be able to re-sign him during the offseason, and thus simply rents that player for the stretch run.
Sometimes, the rental players work out perfectly in getting their new team to the postseason. However, sometimes trades for rental players come back to haunt a team, especially if a top prospect is traded.
In lieu of the Carlos Beltran (a likely two-month rental) for Zack Wheeler (a highly-touted prospect with a ton of upside) trade, here are the five most disastrous trades for short-term rentals.
Note: Obviously, it’s way too early to deem the Beltran deal a disaster. However, this is the mold of a deal that can wind up being disastrous, especially since Beltran will test the waters of free agency this offseason.
The New York Yankees traded Cuban star Jose Contreras to the Chicago White Sox for Esteban Loaiza, hoping that Loaiza would give the Yankees starting rotation a boost.
He did the complete opposite by going 1-2 with an 8.50 ERA in six starts. What’s worse is that he gave up a key hit to David Ortiz in the ALCS that started the Boston Red Sox on their miraculous comeback after being down 3-0.
Contreras meanwhile has put together a solid MLB career since leaving the Yankees. He played an integral role in the White Sox World Series Championship in 2005 and has done a fine job recently in the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen.
While Contreras enjoyed a successful 2005, Loaiza was far from the Yankees, pitching for the Washington Nationals.
This trade was actually more than just a two-month rental, but it had to be included due to the absolute disaster that it was.
The New York Mets were on the fringe of being alive in the playoff race back in 2004, but then general manager Jim Duquette thought the team was good enough to contend.
He traded hot-hitting Ty Wigginton to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kris (and Anna) Benson. But then he did the unthinkable.
The Mets sent former first-round pick Scott Kazmir and Jose Diaz to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato.
What were you thinking Duquette?
Zambrano made only three starts down the stretch, and the Mets missed the playoffs. He actually hung around for two more seasons and finished 8-14 in 36 starts.
Despite his recent struggles, Kazmir put together some stellar seasons in Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox were in search of bullpen depth in 1990 when they traded for Larry Anderson, a 37-year-old reliever who had been with the Houston Astros.
Boston went on to win the AL East, but was swept in the playoffs by the Oakland Athletics. Anderson pitched just 22 innings over the final month, and was shipped to the San Diego Padres during the offseason.
The Astros acquired a Double-A third baseman named Jeff Bagwell in exchange for Anderson.
Just how did that work out for Houston?
Bagwell clubbed 449 home runs and recorded a .297 batting average in his possibly Hall of Fame worthy career.
Mark Langston was one of the game’s premier pitchers for the Seattle Mariners in the late 1980s.
The Montreal Expos agreed, and thus acquired him along with Mike Campbell in early 1989. Langston pitched well (12-9, 2.39 ERA) for four months.
However, the Expos finished at an even .500, which placed them fourth out of six teams in the NL East and well short of a playoff berth.
For Langston, the Expos gave up three prospects, two of which never really materialized. But the third prospect was Randy Johnson.
Johnson turned in a career worthy of Cooperstown. Meanwhile, Langston was pitching for the California Angels in 1990.
Though Omar Minaya had some questionable personnel decisions while with the Mets, his most notorious move came as the general manager of the Expos.
He went all in in 2002 by trading for Bartolo Colon, then of the Cleveland Indians. Colon pitched great for the Expos down the stretch, finishing 10-4 in 17 starts.
However, the Expos still missed the playoffs, and then shipped Colon to the White Sox in the offseason.
The centerpiece of the deal at the time was first baseman Lee Stevens, who Minaya wanted to move to clear some payroll for the next season.
But the deal also included three prospects: Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee.
Phillips is a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner; Sizemore is a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner and could have been even better had it not been for injury troubles; and Lee is a three-time All-Star and Cy Young award winner.
Didn’t work out so hot, did it Minaya?