Ranking, Grading the Top 10 Shocking Blockbuster Trades of the Last 10 Years

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2012

Ranking, Grading the Top 10 Shocking Blockbuster Trades of the Last 10 Years

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    Two of the biggest sluggers in the game, Miami's Giancarlo Stanton and Toronto's Jose Bautista, give us a pretty accurate assessment of what the feelings of the players and fans in both cities are feeling after Tuesday night's blockbuster deal that saw 12 players, including Jose Reyes, change hands.

    Alright, I'm pissed off!!! Plain & Simple

    — Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo818) November 13, 2012

    Its a good day to be a bluejay!

    — Jose Bautista(@JoeyBats19) November 13, 2012

    On the heels of the blockbuster, what better time to take a look back at the past decade of blockbuster deals and see how those worked out for the teams involved?

    I can't think of one. We'll grade the deals with the aid of retrospect, but rank them in terms of shock value.

    Let's get to it.

    Rick Weiner is a member of Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering all of Major League Baseball.

10. December 18, 2004: Mark Mulder Brings Back a Haul

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    Oakland Gets: 1B Daric Barton, RHP Kiko Calero and RHP Dan Haren

    St. Louis Gets: LHP Mark Mulder

    Mulder was still one of the elite pitchers in baseball at the time of this deal, having gone 72-32 for the A's over the previous four seasons, and was solid for the Cardinals in 2005, going 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA.

    But then the rotator cuff problems started and Mulder would pitch in only 21 games for the Cards over the next three seasons, going 6-10 with a 7.73 ERA.

    Haren averaged 14 wins and 221 innings a year for the A's from 2005 through 2007, but as they do with the vast majority of their players, he was dealt before he became too expensive for Oakland to retain.

    Daric Barton has split most of his career between the A's and the minor leagues, having a knack for getting on base but devoid of much power or the ability to hit for a high average.

    Grades: Oakland B+, St. Louis C-

9. November 10, 2008: Matt Holliday and Carlos Gonzalez Trade Places

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    Colorado Gets: LF Carlos Gonzalez, LHP Greg Smith, RHP Huston Street

    Oakland Gets: LF Matt Holliday

    Colorado must still be laughing about this one, for while Greg Smith never panned out, both Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street went on to have plenty of success for the Rockies.

    CarGo has developed into one of the premier outfielders in all of baseball. Twice an All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner, Gonzalez has a batting title on his resume and finished third in the 2010 NL MVP voting.

    And while he battled injury throughout his tenure with the Rockies, Street still managed to save 84 games in parts of three seasons.

    Matt Holliday was without question the best player involved in the deal, but the A's kept him for a total of 93 games before flipping him to the St. Louis Cardinals at the 2009 trade deadline.

    Oakland essentially traded Carlos Gonzalez and Huston Street for Shane Peterson, Clayton Mortensen and Brett Wallace,


    Grades: Oakland D, Colorado A+

8. December 23, 2011: Mr. Gonzalez Goes to Washington

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    Washington Gets: LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Robert Gilliam

    Oakland Gets: RHP A.J. Cole, LHP Tommy Milone, C Derek Norris, RHP Brad Peacock

    Both teams made out well in this trade.

    Gio broke out in a big way with the Nationals in 2012, leading the National League with 21 wins on the season.

    A finalist for the NL Cy Young Award, Gonzalez went 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 2012, striking out 207 batters in 199.1 innings of work while helping the Nationals to the NL East title and the first postseason berth in franchise history.

    Tommy Milone emerged as a front-of-the-rotation arm for the A's, going 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.38 WHIP while playing an integral part in Oakland's surprising run to the AL West crown.

    Norris is Oakland's catcher of the future, while both Cole and Peacock remain prospects with high ceilings and a chance to contribute at the major league level in 2013.

    Grades: Washington A, Oakland A

7. July 31, 2007: Tex Leaves Texas

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    Atlanta Gets: 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay

    Texas Gets: SS Elvis Andrus, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RHP Neftali Feliz, LHP Matt Harrison and LHP Beau Jones

    Teixiera played a total of 157 games for the Braves, hitting .295 with 37 HR and 134 RBI—solid numbers for sure.

    But considering the pieces that the Braves gave up to get him, it wasn't worth it.

    Andrus has become an All-Star shortstop, Harrison won 18 games for the Rangers in 2012, and Feliz, while injured, has shown flashes of brilliance in each of the previous two seasons.

    Grades: Braves D-, Rangers A+

6. December 8, 2009: The Grandyman Can

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    Yankees Get: CF Curtis Granderson

    Diamondbacks Get: RHP Edwin Jackson and RHP Ian Kennedy

    Tigers Get: LHP Phil Coke, CF Austin Jackson, RHP Max Scherzer and LHP Daniel Schlereth

    This one worked out for all parties involved, but it's the Tigers who made out the best.

    The Yankees get a power-hitting center fielder who has hit 40 home runs in each of the past two seasons.

    Kennedy was a finalist for the 2011 NL CY Young Award and a key reason why Arizona won the NL West that season.

    Detroit, however, wound up with an All-Star-caliber CF in Jackson, a strikeout machine in Scherzer and two quality left-handed relievers in Coke and Schlereth (the latter of which has battled injury issues on and off since arrival, however).

    Grades: Yankees B, Diamondbacks B, Tigers A+

5. June 27, 2002: Bartolo Colon Goes North of the Border

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    Expos Get: RHP Bartolo Colon and RHP Tim Drew

    Indians Get: CF Grady Sizemore, 2B Brandon Phillips, LHP Cliff Lee, 1B Lee Stevens

    With the Expos sitting 6.5 games back in the NL East, GM Omar Minaya deals the farm for Bartolo Colon. Colon would go 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA for the Expos, but they finish 19 games behind the Atlanta Braves.

    While Phillips doesn't work out for the Indians and becomes an All-Star only after being dealt to the Cincinnati Reds, both Lee and Sizemore become stars for the Tribe.

    Lee would go 83-48 for the Indians, winning the 2008 AL CY Young before being traded in 2009.

    Sizemore would appear in three consecutive All-Star Games and become one of the best defensive center fielders in the game before injuries started to derail his career in 2010.

    Grades: Expos D, Indians A+

4. December 4, 2007: Miggy Lands in Detroit

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    Detroit Gets: 3B Miguel Cabrera, LHP Dontrelle Willis

    Florida Gets: RHP Dallas Trahern, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Eulogio De La Cruz, CF Cameron Maybin, LHP Andrew Miller and C Mike Rabelo

    This one doesn't really need a comprehensive breadown.

    Miguel Cabrera is one of, if not the best player in all of baseball, while nobody else involved with this deal went on to do anything that comes close to reaching the impact that the man who won the American League Triple Crown in 2012 has.

    Florida had their reasons for making the deal, but this serves as a cautionary tale. It doesn't matter how well regarded and highly touted prospects are—they're all unproven and far from sure things. Both Miller and Maybin were supposed to be All-Stars multiple times over by now. 

    They aren't. As a matter of fact, you could argue that of the six players the Marlins received, Burke Badenhop has gone on to have the best career of them all. 

    Unfortunately for the Marlins, he's throwing out of Tampa Bay's bullpen these days.

    Grades: Detroit A+, Florida D-

3. February 16, 2004: A-Rod for Alfonso

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    Rangers Get: 2B Alfonso Soriano and IF Joaquin Arias

    Yankees Get: SS Alex Rodriguez and cash

    A-Rod would move to third base, win two MVP awards, help the Yankees win the 2009 World Series and become one of the most reviled athletes in New York.

    Soriano would last only two years in Texas before being traded away, but both teams did well with this trade, whether they care to admit it or not.

    The Yankees got a great player in the prime of his career, while the Rangers got out from under what was, at the time, the biggest contract in baseball, with more than $150 million still due to Rodriguez over the length of the deal.

    Grades: Rangers B, Yankees B

2. November 13, 2012: Miami Fire Sale, Part Deux

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    Toronto Gets: RHP Josh Johnson, RHP Mark Buehrle, CF/2B Emilio Bonifacio, C John Buck, SS Jose Reyes

    Miami Gets: SS Yunel Escobar, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Henderson Alvarez, LHP Justin Nicolino, CF Jake Marisnick, C Jeff Mathis and RHP Anthony DeSclafani

    The Marlins don't typically clean house unless it's coming immediately after a World Series victory, but hey, why not try something new, right?

    The above deal is how it's being reported by Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal, but as this just went down, some of the names could change.

    Toronto just changed the face of the American League with one fell swoop, and the scary thing is, Toronto's farm system is still stacked after this deal. Regardless, Toronto has put the rest of baseball on notice—they are making a run at the World Series in 2013, and you've got to like their chances with this move.

    Johnson and Buehrle give them the stability in their rotation that they have desperately needed. Reyes and Bonifacio give them speed at the top and bottom of their lineup, depending on how they decide to use them. And Buck gives them the flexibility to move one of their talented backstops for another piece.

    While the Blue Jays win in the short term with this deal, obviously, don't sleep on the prospects Miami is getting in return, specifically Nicolino. He's a few years away, but he's got electric stuff and he was thought to be one of the few untouchables in Toronto's system.

    Considering how absolutely out of nowhere this deal came from, the shock value is significant.

    Grades: Far too early for grades, but Toronto is the clear winner in the short term.

1. August 25, 2012: The Untradeable Gets Traded

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    Dodgers Get: RHP Josh Beckett, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LF Carl Crawford, IF Nick Punto

    Red Sox Get: RHP Allen Webster, IF Ivan De Jesus, 1B James Loney, LF/1B Jerry Sands and RHP Rubby De La Rosa

    Saying Carl Crawford's name three times on the streets of Boston was akin to saying "Beetlejuice" three times in the late '80s—it was a bad idea.

    His contract was the unmovable object, the gigantic elephant in the room. Yet he was moved—along with three of his teammates—in a deal that set a number of MLB records.

    It was the first time that two players with $100 million contracts were involved in the same trade (Crawford and Gonzalez), much less traded together to another team.

    By adding more than $250 million in payroll to their books, the Dodgers acquired more salary in one transaction than any team in the history of the game.

    Without a doubt moving Crawford (and a malcontent like Josh Beckett) is a major coup for the Red Sox, but Gonzalez was productive and it will be years before their side of the deal can truly be graded.

    For the Dodgers, the acquisitions didn't spark a playoff run in 2012 as their new ownership had hoped, but it puts them in excellent position to contend in 2013 and beyond.

    Grades: Too early to grade, but Boston gets high marks for unloading Crawford.

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