Big Trades in Atlanta Braves History: Braves Add the Crime Dog

Brett KettyleCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2009

The Trade:

San Diego Padres traded Fred McGriff to the Atlanta Braves for Vince Moore, Donnie Elliot, and Melvin Nieves

During the season in 1993, the Braves had a solid lineup but went into the playoff race looking to upgrade the first base position, which was being occupied by Sid Bream.

With Ron Gant (who ended the year with 36 home runs) and David Justice (who ended the year with 40 home runs) already in the lineup, one more good run producer might have been enough to send the Braves to a World Series championship. (We now know it wasn’t.)

The Players:

Fred McGriff

Heading into the 1993 season, Fred McGriff had established himself as one of the premier sluggers in the Major Leagues, averaging 34 home runs through his first five full seasons in the Majors.

With the Padres in 1993, McGriff was off to a mediocre start, as his slugging percentage was under .500, and he was hitting only .275 at the time of the trade.

The day he arrived in Atlanta, the press box caught on fire at Atlanta Fulton Country Stadium, and with McGriff's bat in the lineup, the Braves caught on fire and closed a 9.5-game gap between themselves and the San Francisco Giants.

McGriff was a great boost to the Atlanta offense in 1993, hitting .310 and knocking 19 home runs in 63 games with the club, which would go on to lead the majors in both home runs and wins.

However, through the 1997 season, McGriff was valuable asset for Atlanta. From 1994 to 1997, McGriff hit .291 with 111 home runs and 391 RBI.

During his Atlanta tenure, McGriff led the team in both home runs and RBI twice and finished second in those categories three times.


Melvin Nieves

At the time of the trade, Nieves had only 19 Major League at bats, all from 1992.

His main trade value came as a result of his breakout 1992 minor league season, in which he hit 26 home runs over two levels of play.

Called up in 1993 with the Padres, Nieves hit only .191 in 47 at bats. He didn’t have more than 100 at bats until 1995, when he hit 14 home runs despite having only a .205 batting average in 234 at bats.

Eventually traded by the Padres to the Tigers (and then by the Tigers to the Reds), Nieves played over 100 games just twice in his career.

Although, in those years (both with Detroit), he hit 44 homers in only 790 at bats.

Still, he was unable to gain regular playing time due to his low (.238 in those years) batting average.


Vince Moore

At the time of the trade, Moore was in advanced A-ball.

Moore was another outfielder, and most of his trade value likely came from his strong start to the 1993 season, in which he was hitting .292 with 14 home runs and 21 stolen bases for Durham.

However, Moore never made it up to the major leagues. After the 1993 season, he never batted more higher than .256 while in the minor leagues, and he lost most of the power that he displayed in 1993.

Donnie Elliot

Traded to the Braves in 1992, Elliot had shown promise as a starting pitcher by dominating in Double-A throughout the 1992 season. After moving into the Atlanta organization, Elliot finished 1992 with a 7-2 record and 2.08 ERA for the Double-A Greenville Braves.

However, a mediocre start to the 1993 season demonstrated Elliot's inflated value, and he finished terribly after moving to the Padres organization.

However, Elliot pitched in the majors for the Padres in 1994, and he had a 3.27 ERA in 30 games (one start). However, control was an issue, as he walked 21 batters in 33 innings.

In 1995, Elliot pitched in one more major league game, but even then, he was unable to find the dominance he showed in 1992.

The Verdict:

This was a great trade for the Braves. McGriff was a force in their lineup and was a key player on the Braves' 1995 World Series championship team and during their division-title streak.

None of the players that the Braves traded away amounted to much, as Nieves was the most successful player despite never hitting over .250 in a season with more than 100 games played.


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