Derek Lee and the Most Notable Braves-Cubs Player Swaps
On Wednesday, the Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs completed a deal to send first baseman Derrek Lee to Atlanta for three pitching prospects.
The Braves needed a first baseman with some pop to complement Troy Glaus' decision to rehab in the minors and readjust himself to third base. Lee and Glaus could also platoon, giving Glaus the time to rest his knees and give both guys solid playing time.
This move is another in what I have noticed is seemingly a trend in which players who played for the Braves end up playing with the Cubs as well. Here are some notable (and maybe not so notable) examples.
Drafted in the second round of the 1984 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs, Maddux went to the Atlanta Braves in one of the biggest free agent signings of note in Braves' franchise history.
The reigning 1992 Cy Young Award Winner, Maddux signed a free agent deal with the Atlanta Braves for five years and $28 million—the $5.6 million a year average was a Major League record at the time.
Maddux played from 1986 to 1992 with the Cubs, 1993 to 2003 with the Atlanta Braves, returned to the Cubs from 2004 to 2006, pitched the last of 2006 with the Dodgers, pitched for the Padres in 2007, and finished his career with the Dodgers in 2008.
In his career, Maddux was an eight-time All-Star, an 18-time Gold Glove winner, a four-time Cy Young Award winner, and helped pitch the Braves to a 1995 World Series Championship.
Kyle Farnsworth began his career with the Chicago Cubs after being drafted in the 47th round in the 1994 draft. After playing with the Cubs from 1994-2004, he went to the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and was subsequently traded to the Atlanta Braves toward the middle of 2005.
After stints in Kansas City, Detroit (again), and New York, Farnsworth has returned to Atlanta. He was acquired via a deadline trade with Kansas City which also brought former Cardinals pitcher (converted outfielder) Rick Ankiel to Atlanta.
Kenny Lofton began his illustrious career after being drafted by Houston in 1988. The next year, 1989, he was on his way to Cleveland, where he became known as a base stealing extraordinaire.
Lofton came to Atlanta for the 1997 season to assist an injury-plagued Braves and was off to Cleveland again. However, in 2003, the Cubs picked Lofton up to add speed to the front of the lineup and gain a little defensive help.
Known as one of the best base stealers in the game, he helped both the Braves and Cubs on the basepaths.
"The Crime Dog" Fred McGriff will be remembered by many for what happened at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium the day the Braves acquired him from the Padres in 1993.
Right after the trade was announced, the press box in Atlanta caught on fire. Oddly, McGriff's arrival sparked a rally and the Braves won the division for the third straight year.
McGriff stayed in Atlanta untill 1997, when he left in the offseason to join the newly formed Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2001, the Cubs, in dire need of offensive support, traded for McGriff; by this point, McGriff had lost much of his pop. Fred played one more season, in Los Angeles, and retired in 2004.
The home-grown Georgian came up through the Braves farm system, reaching the majors in 1987. He played with Atlanta until 1997, leaving to sign with the Chicago Cubs in 1998.
Blauser was known for his solid hitting skills and his defense, virtually plugging the hole in short.
One of the best closers in the history of the game, Bruce Sutter started his career as a starter with the Cubs. After leaving the Cubs in 1980, Sutter came into his own as a closer.
The Braves signed him in 1985 and he played with the Braves for three years. A deceptive pitcher with good junk, Sutter is one of the all-time saves leaders.
Primarily a starter, Mercker began his career as a reliever with Atlanta in 1989. After five seasons, Mercker developed into a quality starter and has two of the three no hitters in Atlanta Braves history (excluding Milwaukee and Boston club history).
Mercker returned to the Braves in 2003 and left for the Cubs in 2004. An excellent pitcher with a good curve, Mercker established himself as one of the top pitchers in the league, bringing consistency and determination.