MLB Trade Deadline: David Ortiz and the Best Players to Be Named Later
With this year's hectic trade deadline finally over, it's time to play armchair GM and evaluate each team's trades. There's just one problem- many clubs still have no idea who they're receiving. Teams such as Colorado, St. Louis and Houston are still deciding on their players to be named later to complete earlier trades.
The player to be named later (from here on PTBNL) is typically used to delay a trade's final terms. Teams usually do this because either they are not sure what position they want to fill, or they haven't had enough time to evaluate the other team's talent. Teams agree on a list of five to ten players that the PTBNL will be chosen from. The players are typically minor leaguers because the player must change leagues.
Often very little comes from these players. Most are career minor leaguers, and the few who do make it to The Show usually last for only a season or two.
But every once in a while, that player can turn into a real contributor for his new ball club. Here are the top 15 PTBNL of the past 15 years.
15. Ray King
A lefty specialist, King was a bullpen staple with the Brewers, Nationals, Cardinals, Rockies and Braves. He had an incredibly durable arm, holding the second most number of single-season appearances for two organizations. He also fielded his position well, committing only seven errors in ten seasons.
His best year was with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, posting a 2.61 ERA and a 164 ERA+.
14. Craig Wilson
A career .262 hitter, Wilson had his best season in 2004 with the team, smashing 29 homers and driving in 82. He played both first base and the outfield as a Pirate, and also played stints with both the Yankees and the Braves.
13. Gregg Zaun
Although primarily used as a backup catcher, Gregg Zaun still managed to compile a 10.5 WAR in his 16 major league seasons. He was sent to the Florida Marlins from the Baltimore Orioles as a PTBNL in 1996.
Zaun had an up-and-down career. He followed a stellar 1996 campaign, winning a World Series with the Marlins and batting .301, with a disastrous 1997 season, failing to hit above the Mendoza line. He bounced back in the following years, and finally became the primary catcher with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006.
12. Miguel Olivo
Olivo is known for picking off base runners, behind only St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina for the most successful pickoffs. He is also known for his toughness—on April 29, 2010 Olive left a game in the eighth inning to pass a kidney stone. Amazingly, he returned shortly afterwards and finished the game.
11. Tony Armas, Jr.
Tony Armas, Jr. spent most of his 10 seasons in the majors with the Montreal/ Washington organization. He used a low 90's fastball and a sharp breaking curve to rack up 674 strikeouts in his career.
Originally signed by the New York Yankees, Armas was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1997. He was eventually sent to the Expos as a PTBNL. The Red Sox didn't seem to miss him much, as that was the trade that landed them future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
Honorable Mention: Harry Chiti
Harry Chiti did not have an exceptional baseball career. He batted only .238 in his ten major league seasons, and left the game with a 0.0 WAR.
He does, however, have the honor of being the first player traded for himself.
In 1962, Chiti was acquired by the New York Mets from the Cleveland Indians for a PTBNL. He was sent back to the Indians to fulfill the terms of the deal after just 15 games in which he batted .195. He never played another major league game, but will be part of baseball trivia for years to come.
10. Jeremy Bonderman
Jeremy Bonderman debuted in the majors at just 20 years old. He was drafted by the Oakland Athletics and eventually sent to the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade that also involved players such as Carlos Pena, Ted Lilly and Jeff Weaver.
In 2005, at the age of 22, Bonderman became the youngest pitcher to start on Opening Day since Dwight Gooden started for the New York Mets in 1986 at the age of 20. One year later, he started off with a 10-0 record and finished the season with a respectable 4.08 ERA.
9. Dmitri Young
Dmitri Young was an outfielder, designated hitter and first baseman during his 13 seasons of major league ball. He finished his career with a 10.6 WAR, compiled with the Cardinals, Reds, Tigers and Nationals.
Unfortunately known as much for his problems off of the field as his play on it, Young nevertheless had quite a few good seasons in baseball when he was able to keep his demons at bay. Young batted above .300 all four years that he played with the Cincinnati Reds. He was an All-Star in '03 and '07, and was the player's choice for the NL Comeback Player of the Year award in '07.
Young was taken by the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays in the expansion draft in 1997 and sent to Cincinnati as a PTBNL shortly afterwards.
8. Jason Frasor
Jason Frasor is currently a right-handed reliever with the Chicago White Sox. He was just recently acquired by the team from the Toronto Blue Jays, where he was the team's all time appearance leader.
Frasor has a career 3.68 ERA and has amassed 427 strikeouts in his eight years as a player. He was acquired by the LA Dodgers from the Detroit Tigers as a PTBNL in 2002, and eventually shipped across the border in the Dodgers/ Jays Jayson Werth trade.
7. Gio González
In the midst of just his fourth season as a major leaguer, Gio González has accumulated 5.6 career WAR.
A left-handed starter with the Oakland Athletics, González is currently 11th in the AL in strikeouts and sports an impressive 2.84 ERA. He was named to his first All-Star squad in July, and should be a fixture in the Oakland rotation for years to come, as he won't see free agency until 2016.
He has been traded three times, most notably as a PTBNL in the Jim Thome/ Aaron Rowand trade between the Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Honorable Mention: Crash Davis
The original script of Bull Durham by writer and director Ron Shelton was actually called "The Player To Be Named Later." Consistently praised as the best baseball film of all time, the movie focuses on the minor league team the Durham Bulls, and the relationships between "Crash" Davis, "Nuke" LaLoosh,\ and Annie Savoy.
In one scene of the movie, catcher Crash Davis actually refers to himself as the PTBNL in a conversation with his coach, Larry Hockett.
6. Scott Brosius
Scott Brosius played well in his first seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics, but it was his years with the Yankees that are the most memorable. Traded as a PTBNL to New York for Kenny Rogers, he batted .300 in his first season with the team ('98) and made his first and only All-Star appearance. He smashed two home runs in Game 3 of the World Series that season, and was eventually named Series MVP.
Brosius production wasn't quite the same after that, but he remained a fan favorite. He also had more postseason heroics up his sleeve—in Game 5 of the 2001 Series, Brosius hit a two-out, two-run homer that tied the game and eventually set up an extra-innings Yankee win.
Chris Berman referred to him as Scott Supercalifragilisticexpiali-Brosius. You know someone's a big deal when Boomer busts out one of his truly atrocious nicknames.
5. Marco Scutaro
Marco Scutaro, currently a Boston Red Sox shortstop, was actually in a documentary film called "A Player To Be Named Later." The movie followed four players from the Indianapolis Indians for a season as they tried to break into the big leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers. Only Scutaro and one other player, Kyle Peterson, ever made it to The Show. Peterson's career was much more short-lived, appearing in just 20 games with the Brewers in two seasons.
Scutaro spent six seasons in the minors with the Cleveland Indians before being dealt as a PTBNL in a trade with the Brewers. He eventually landed in Toronto, and had his best season to date in 2009, posting career bests in almost every offensive category and contributing 5.5 WAR. He followed that up with another career year in '10 with the Red Sox, and set his career high in hits with 174.
4. Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly made his major league debut in 1999 with the Montreal Expos. Shortly afterwards, he was sent to the New York Yankees as a PTBNL as part of a trade involving Hideki Irabu.
Lilly, now a starter with the Dodgers, had his best season in '09 with the Chicago Cubs. He posted a 3.10 ERA and was the club's lone All-Star representative. It was his second appearance to date.
On July 13, 2010, Lilly took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox. After allowing a leadoff single to Juan Pierre, he was lifted for closer Carlos Marmol who preserved the shutout for a 1-0 Cubs win.
3. Coco Crisp
Covelli Loyce "Coco" Crisp was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals but did not see the majors until he was sent as a PTBNL to the Indians. Crisp made his debut in 2002 at the age of 22 and batted .260 after his call-up. With the exception of a dismal '09, that is his worst batting average for a season to date.
Currently a center fielder with the A's, Crisp is known for his stellar defense and his speed, and is currently in the top five in stolen bases in the AL. His most memorable seasons came with the Boston Red Sox—he made the catch that sent the Sox to the World Series in 2007, running into the wall and slightly injuring himself in the process.
He's accumulated 19.5 WAR in his career, at least 2.1 of which were contributed by his awesome afro.
2. Jason Schmidt
Jason Schmidt spent 14 seasons in the majors as a pitcher, most notably with the San Francisco Giants. After being drafted by the Braves, Schmidt was sent as a PTBNL to the Pirates in 1996 and was immediately inserted into their starting rotation.
Schmidt had his best season in 2003 with the Giants. He led the league in ERA (2.34), WHIP (0.953), and win-loss percentage (.773). He was named to his first of three All-Star teams that year, and finished second in Cy Young voting to Eric Gagné. He followed that up with a great 2004 as well, winning 18 games and setting a single-season team record with 251 strikeouts, since broken by Tim Lincecum in '08.
On June 6, 2006, Schmidt struck out 16 batters against the Florida Marlins, which tied the Giants franchise record originally set by Christy Matthewson. He pitched a complete game in the process, striking out the heart of the Marlins order in the ninth inning.
1. David Ortiz
Traded by the Mariners and released by the Twins, David "Big Papi" Ortiz has done nothing but flat out rake in his major league career. "The greatest clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox," Ortiz is a seven-time All-Star, four-time Silver Slugger, and holds the Sox single season home run record with 54.
Ortiz was traded as a PTBNL in 1996 from the Seattle Mariners to the Minnesota Twins in a trade for half-season rental Dave Hollins. While Hollins did bat .351 for the remainder of the season, his career accomplishments pale in comparison to Ortiz's.
He stayed with the Twins through the '02 season, but was released by the team due to his eligibility for arbitration, which would have more than doubled his salary.
Ortiz was picked up the following season by the Red Sox, and truly began to make his mark as one of the best sluggers in the game. He was a major factor in helping the team end its 86-year World Series drought. He hit .409 with five home runs and 23 RBI's during the playoffs. He hit a walk-off home run to win the ALDS against the Angels, but saved his best for the rival New York Yankees, belting a walk-off home run in Game 4, and a walk-off single in Game 5. His heroics earned him ALCS MVP honors.
Ortiz has a career .282 batting average to compliment his 369 home runs and 1238 RBI's.