Friday, July 20, 2012

Worst Deadline Deals

There is usually at least a couple of major deals towards the trading deadline every year. Sometimes, picking up a player or two will propel a team to a lengthy playoff run. A good prospect may turn into a great player, but if the team wins the World Series, it's looked at a more positive light. However, sometimes a team gives up a good prospect, and it doesn't work out. Today, I'll look at the worst deadline deals.

10) 7/31/10: Dodgers trade James McDonald and Andrew Lambo to the Pirates for Octavio Dotel

The Dodgers needed pitching help in 2010, and made a couple of trades. They traded for Ted Lilly, and then acquired Octavio Dotel from the Pirates. The Dodgers ended up in fourth place, and Dotel left in free agency. McDonald has turned into the Pirates ace this year.

9) 7/12/06: Rays trade Aubrey Huff to the Astros for Ben Zobrist and Mitch Talbot

The Rays made a similar trade a couple years back when they traded Victor Zambrano for Scott Kazmir. Huff was going to be a free agent after the season, and the Rays were horrible during this time. So, they traded him away for prospects and came up with Ben Zobrist.

8) 8/28/83: Indians trade Len Barker to the Braves for Brett Butler, Brook Jacoby, and Rick Behanna

Len Barker once threw a perfect game in 1981. The Braves were in a pennant race with the Dodgers in 1983, and badly needed some pitching help. The Braves didn't make the postseason, but they re-signed Barker anyway. He only won 10 games total as a Brave. Butler and Jacoby were future All Stars.

7) 7/21/88: Yankees trade Jay Buhner, Rich Balabon, and Troy Evers to the Mariners for Ken Phelps

This is the trade from the Seinfeld episode where George Constanza asks George Steinbrenner how he could make such a trade. Buhner was a fixture in the Mariners lineup for the next decade plus. The Yankees also traded away Jose Rijo, Doug Drabek, Fred McGriff,  and Willie McGee during the 80's.

6) 7/4/98: Reds trade Jeff Shaw to the Dodgers for Paul Konerko and Dennys Reyes

Fox just took over the Dodgers in 1998, and they were trying to get as many big names as possible during this time. Shaw had some good years as the closer for the Dodgers, too. But, the Dodgers traded away Paul Konerko, who turned into a great player. How much better would the Dodgers of been if they kept Konerko? I'm not sure, but the Reds didn't keep him for long, either. They went with Sean Casey at first base, and traded Konerko to the White Sox for Mike Cameron, who was part of the Ken Griffey Jr. trade a year after that.

5) 7/31/07: Rangers trade Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to the Braves for Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones

This trade has helped the Rangers out tremendously, and got them some key players that contributed to them making the World Series two straight years. Feliz, Andrus, and Harrison have all made All Star teams with the Rangers. At the time, Salty was the big name for the Rangers haul, but he was later traded. The Braves traded Teixeira to the Angels a year later for Casey Kotchman, yikes.

4) 7/31/97: Red Sox trade Heathcliff Slocumb to the Mariners for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe

The Mariners had a powerful offense that scored 925 runs, and a formidable rotation that included Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer. They also had an awful, terrible bullpen that got rocked. So, the Mariners traded rookie outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. for Mike Timlin and Paul Spoljaric. Then, they traded Varitek and Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb. Slocumb had a 4.97 ERA in 96 innings over a year and a half for the Mariners. Varitek and Lowe combined to make 5 All Star teams with the Red Sox, and helped them win their first championship in 86 years in 2004.

3) 8/12/87: Braves trade Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for John Smoltz

The Tigers were in a pennant race with the Blue Jays and Brewers, and thought they needed another pitcher to go with Jack Morris and Frank Tanana. So, they acquired Alexander from the Braves. Alexander pitched really well down the stretch, going 9-0 with a 1.52 ERA. The Tigers made the playoffs, but Alexander lost two games in the ALCS, and the Tigers were upset by the Twins. Smoltz was a Detroit native, but a prospect that had poor control and command. Smoltz pitched 20 years for the Braves, making 8 All Star teams as a starter and closer, winning a Cy Young, won over 200 games, and was part of their 1995 championship team.

2) 8/30/90: Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to the Astros for Larry Andersen

The Red Sox thought they needed to shore up their bullpen down the stretch, so they traded for Andersen. He did pitch well in September, but was rocked by the A's in the ALCS. He left as a free agent after that. The Red Sox traded Jeff Bagwell, a third base prospect to the Astros. They figured he was expendable, since that he was blocked by Scott Cooper in Triple A, and Wade Boggs in the majors. They also had 1989 first round pick Mo Vaughn at first base in the minors at the time. Bagwell ended up having a Hall of Fame caliber career with the Astros, and was the 1994 NL MVP.

1) 6/27/02: Indians trade Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew to the Expos for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Lee Stevens

The Expos were surprise contenders in mid-2002. The Expos were owned by MLB, and were nearly contracted in the offseason before. MLB appointed Omar Minaya as Montreal's GM. This was an unusual circumstance, but Minaya mortgaged the farm to get Colon. The Expos didn't make the playoffs, and Colon was traded to the White Sox in the offseason for Rocky Biddle, Jeff Leifer, and El Duque(who was hurt all of 2003). Sizemore, Lee, and Phillips all ended up being All Stars. Perhaps, the Expos/Nats wouldn't of been as bad in the years after that if they didn't make this trade. But, they never would of been in the position to pick Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper in that scenario.

                        Colon with the Montreal Expos: Traded for 3 All Stars

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