Best and Worst Trade Deadline Deals

Probably will be tough to top the Manny Machado deal as the most significant of the trade deadline season. Machado could help the Dodgers win it all this season. Or, he may not, and he may not be back next year. So, we’ll just have to wait to see how it works out. But, we can look back at some deadline deals of the past, those that worked out and the many that didn’t. More after the jump. 

The rest of this post is courtesy of yardbarker.com. On their site are a couple of lists, one titled “The most lopsided MLB trade deadline deals“, and the other “Every MLB team’s best and worst deadline trade from the last 25 years” (one curious thing is that some of the worst trades in the second list didn’t make the first, and vice versa).

I’ll let you take a gander at those lists and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts. Have the authors got it right, or are there other trades that belong on those lists? Have fun on this trip down memory lane.

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52 Comments on "Best and Worst Trade Deadline Deals"

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Brett Alan
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The second list explicitly is limited to the last 25 years, but the first is ridiculous in that it ostensibly covers the history of baseball but actually has only two trades before the late 80s. No Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas or Nolan Ryan plus for Jim Fregosi? Not good.

On the other list, given how good Fulmer has been, I can’t call that the best Mets deal. Getting Syndergaard plus for RA Dickey beats it, off the top of my head. Or getting Piazza for Preston Wilson and a couple prospects.

e pluribus munu
Guest
The first list is odd indeed: perhaps they began compiling it thirty years ago and just finished it two days ago, forgetting to change the title to “the last 55 years.” Even so, the theme is trade-deadline trades, so the Robinson/Pappas and Ryan/Fregosi adventures wouldn’t be included, since they were off-season swaps. I’m no expert on these trades. I’ve never tracked them closely, and one reason why is they are most frequently trades of long-term for short-term benefits. For example, the first list cites the ’87 Detroit trade for Doyle Alexander in exchange for John Smoltz, which I do recall.… Read more »
Brett Alan
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D’oh…my own fault for not reading the titles! Still, there must have been some other notable lopsided deadline deals before the mid-80s.

no statistician but
Guest
Prior to 1986 the trading deadline was in June from 1923 onward. Before that there wan’t one. To get a better picture of late season acquisitions prior to 1986—whether they were successes or duds—would take a study of waivers. As a sub point: it was very unlikely for a player in earlier times to go from one league to another except on waivers, often mid- or late-season. If I’m remembering correctly, a team might want to unload a player for a particular reason but didn’t want him to go to a competing team. The word would go out that the… Read more »
e pluribus munu
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There’s an interesting history to the creation of the trading deadline in 1923, which nsb mentions. On July 23, 1922, the NY Yankees, in a tight race with the Browns, who had been perennial doormats for two decades, for the umpteenth time since 1920, tapped the lowly Boston Red Sox and grabbed some key players in an unequal trade. St. Louis was outraged that a wealthy team could simply call in reserves in this way to win the pennant against a budget-strapped club that had reared its own talent. Exactly one week later, the NY Giants, in a tight race… Read more »
Brent
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Also ironic is that the perception of those trades (from the St. Louis standpoint) is much more impactful than the actual trades. In the Yankees/BoSox trade, the centerpiece for the Yankees was 25 year old 3B Joe Dugan. He did become their third baseman for the rest of that year plus a few after that (he was a member of Murderer’s Row in ’27). However, he was always a good field/no hit third sacker, and while I don’t doubt he was a defensive upgrade for the Yankees in 1922, the player he replaced was a future HOFer (albeit a long… Read more »
Brent
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As for the Braves/Giants trade, the “impact” pitcher they received was Hugh McQuillen, who never had an ERA+ for a season over 95 prior to the trade, but did manage to pitch decently for the Giants. In 15 starts he went 6-5 with a 3.82 ERA (ERA+ of 106). He also won a WS game that year. One would presume that the player he replaced in the rotation was Fred Toney, who was one of the pitchers traded for him. Toney appears to have been hurt at some point before the trade and never pitched for the Braves (he did… Read more »
Dr. Doom
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In the first list, I have a real problem with two of the selections. The aforementioned Alexander-Smoltz deal, as well as its close cousin, the Randy Johnson-Freddy Garcia deal. I don’t understand what’s wrong with either of these deals. Both teams got EXACTLY what they wanted out of it. The Alexander-Smoltz deal is better remembered, I think, but I was 11 years old in the summer of 1998, so I remember that deal clearly. The Astros wound up winning the Central by a lot… but at the deadline, they were only up 2.5 on the Cubs, and they were behind… Read more »
Doug
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You could say as much about the other RJ trade, going to the Mariners for Mark Langston. Both teams got what they wanted (I don’t think the Expos seriously believed they had a shot at resigning Langston after the season) – it just didn’t work out for the Expos despite Langston delivering the goods. The Mariners also knew they weren’t going to resign Langston, so took a flyer on a raw talent who couldn’t locate the plate, a flaw most scouts probably suspected a 6’10” hurler couldn’t correct. Happily for Seattle, RJ proved those observers wrong.

CursedClevelander
Guest
I’d hardly say we got hosed in the Sabathia deal – we traded a guy that was going to be a FA for Michael’s Brantley 20 WAR career with the Tribe. In 2011, sure, it looked like we got hosed – same could be said of the Lee deal with the Phillies. But looking back now, they’re classic win-win trades. The Crew got an amazing second-half rental that helped them make the playoffs. The Indians got a franchise cornerstone. With Lee, the Phillies got a Cy Young caliber pitcher (and complete postseason stud in 2009) for a half-season rental, and… Read more »
Dr. Doom
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Hilarious sidenote about the Bob Wickman trade, which you wouldn’t know (as an Indians fan). The Brewers promotional schedule included a Bob Wickman… bobblehead? poster? can’t remember… right after the All-Star Game, at which point we’d already traded him – our only All-Star that season. That felt like the most “Brewers” thing of all-time. It did work out, though, so it’s tough to complain about it too much.

no statistician but
Guest

CC:
The abbreviation FA means something far different from free agent where I come from.

e pluribus munu
Guest

Sometimes I feel the world has passed me by.

CursedClevelander
Guest

Well of course. It’s a long long way to run.

CursedClevelander
Guest

By some definitions, CC was a FA long before the 2008 off-season. Though I’m not exactly svelte myself.

Mike L
Guest

These critical tidbits are the things that keep me returning to HHS. It’s when I know I’m among my own.

Doug
Guest

One fun aspect of looking at the lopsided moves is seeing where some future stars started their professional careers – Jeff Bagwell with the Red Sox, Corey Kluber with the Padres, Asdrubal Cabrera with the Mariners, Brandon Phillips with the Expos. Fans who follow a team closely will know their top prospects, but for most fans, their awareness of players starts with their appearance in the majors.

Based on their repeated appearances in the lopsided list, would seem that the Mariners, Rangers, Pirates and Expos had had the most misfortune with deadline deals.

oneblankspace
Guest

and yet the best-and-worst list only looked at the Washington Nationals.

CursedClevelander
Guest

Yeah, Colon for Sizemore, Lee and Phillips isn’t just the Expos worst deadline trade, it’s on the short list of worst deadline deals in MLB history. A quick glance at team controlled seasons (including arb years) looks like the Expos got 2.4 WAR of Colon for ~55 WAR of the young trio they shipped away. Of course, they had a complicated ownership situation at the time.

Doug
Guest

For those who would like to try their sleuthing skills, there is a new quiz posted.
http://www.highheatstats.com/player-stats-quiz/quiz-triple-threats/

An extra clue is that the active player who may next join the quiz players is featured in the Most Lopsided Trades list.

oneblankspace
Guest

The 1983 White Sox did so well with their Tony Bernazard for Julio Cruz trade that in 1984, they traded two players to be named later (Kevin Hickey, Doug Drabek) for Roy Smalley.

CursedClevelander
Guest
One thing to consider is how likely a trade is to backfire – some of these very bad trades (or very good, from the prospective of the winners), were certainly hard to see coming, Kluber wasn’t a highly rated prospect. In 2010, Kluber had come off a pretty rough 2009 season. In 2010, he looked better in AA, but at 24, he wasn’t young for the league. I think the Padres should have realized there was a greater than 50/50 shot that Kluber would be a useful MLB starter. But the current run he’s had? It’s impossible to project that… Read more »
e pluribus munu
Guest

Interesting game in Cincinnati tonight. The Cards put 26 year-old Daniel Poncedeleon on the mound. It was his MLB debut. He pitched 7 innings of no-hit, no-run ball, walking three. With the score 1-0, the Cards pinch-hit for him in the top of the 8th. He’d thrown 116 pitches. Quite a debut, and quite a test for Mike Shildt in his second week of MLB managing. (Cincy just got a hit in the 8th, but did not score.)

Mike L
Guest

You have to root for him to have a long career…..so some announcer can say “38 year old Daniel Pencedelon found the Fountain of Youth against the defending Champions, twirling 7 innings….

Doug
Guest

Not sure if I believe it, but according to P-I, that is the first such debut game (start with 7+ IP, H=0, R=0) since at least 1908 (I suppose it’s because in the old days, the pitcher would stay in until he lost the no-hit bid). Bobo Holloman famously twirled a no-hitter in his first career start, but it wasn’t his first game.

It’s also the first time since 2001 (and 22nd since 1988) that a pitcher has thrown 115+ pitches in a 7+ IP debut.

Doug
Guest

Poncedeleon’s start is easily the longest of only four without a hit or run in a career debut. The others are Walter Anderson (3 IP), Tim Leary (2) and Lefty Schegg (0.1).

Cesar Tovar played one inning at each position on Sep 22, 1968, beginning the game as the starting pitcher. He completed his inning without allowing a hit or run. It was the first pitching game of Tovar’s career, but not his first major league game.

e pluribus munu
Guest
What in the world was up with that game where Lefty Schegg appeared? Schegg started the game for the Senators in his MLB debut, faced one batter, retired him, and was then himself retired to the bench in favor of relief pitcher Walter Johnson, who finished the game and won it. Meanwhile, Vean Gregg started for the Naps, faced one batter, walked him, and was relieved by rookie Bill Steen, who pitched through the seventh and lost. Gregg then started the 5.5-inning nightcap of the double-header and lost to Carl Cashion, who pitched a six-inning no-hitter. Schegg’s career reached its… Read more »
Doug
Guest

That is weird.

Since the second game was shortened, it might be inferred that weather was a factor that day. Possibly, there was an extended rain delay almost immediately after the game started, then after a brief resumption (enough time to finish the top of the first and start the bottom), play was again suspended for a lengthy interval. In a scenario like that, managers might not have wanted to bring back their starters (though, each having pitched to only one batter, it wouldn’t seem to be too much to ask, especially in that time).

e pluribus munu
Guest
The NYTimes has a story on Poncedeleon’s debut that somewhat dings the uniqueness of his accomplishment, although not technically. In Ross Stripling’s debut for the Dodgers two years ago, he pitched 7.1 innings of no-hit ball before being pulled, one out more than Poncedeleon. He was charged with a run, though, so he does not match the no-hit, no-run standard Poncedeleon set. However, examining the game log of Stripling’s debut, what happened was that Stripling retired the first batter he faced in the 8th on a 1-2-count fly out, and then walked the Giants’ Angel Pagan on a 3-1 count.… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Poncedeleon’s minor league career is strange in that he’s made relatively few appearances over five years—injuries? At any rate, he was brought up from Memphis in the PCL, Memphis now being located on a Coast, I guess, even if it is the coast of the Mississippi.

Mike L beat me to the Fountain of Youth joke. Poncedeleon did pitch in the Florida League for a third of a season, when he was 23.

e pluribus munu
Guest

He did have an horrific injury while in the Minors — a batted ball to the head a year ago that required surgery.

Paul E
Guest
CursedClevelander
Guest

He’s a good shot to be the starting pitcher on the all explorer team, which is currently pretty weak. Right now it might be Colby Lewis then Mark Clark, with Dennis Cook closing? Oh, I suppose Mario Soto if he counts.

Paul E
Guest

Carlos Balboa pitched in the Mexican League recently…..couldn’t find any Da Gama or Magellan or Columbus

Doug
Guest

Daniel Hudson in the bullpen, and Tim Hudson in the rotation.

Ariel Bolivar Jurado debuted in May for the Rangers.

David Thompson (explorer and cartographer of Western Canadian wilderness) was southpaw for the 1948-49 Senators, netting 2.4 career WAR in fewer than 150 IP.

Richard Chester
Guest

Juan Pizarro was a pitcher from 1957 to 1974.

Mike L
Guest

All Astronaut Team: Bob, Brad and 2 Eds Glenn, Lee, Marquis, and Marv Grissom, at least 9 different Carpenters, Geroge, Howard, Jack, Michael, Robert and Shawn Armstrong, a vast quantity of Coopers,

Mike L
Guest

I’m preemptively hating the Yankees trade for Britton.

Doug
Guest

How many grade A relievers are too many. Maybe this makes sense if the Yanks are planning to swap some of their other relievers in another deal still to come?

Mike L
Guest

Britton may not be grade A, and they gave up too much for him. Give the O”s credit for turning two expiring assets, Machado and Britton, into a lot of young players. I can’t imagine what Cashman’s next move might be. Yankees aren’t catching the Red Sox, and tossing younger talent seems foolish

Paul E
Guest

Mike L:
” “Yankees aren’t catching the Red Sox, and tossing younger talent seems foolish””
All those grade A relievers will help in that one – game wild card versus Oakland or Seattle…. I guess

Mike L
Guest

I guess. But Red Sox just picked up Eovaldi for not much.

e pluribus munu
Guest

I’ll bear this comment in mind when Jalen Beeks wins his second CYA.

Paul E
Guest

a little off the beaten path here, but has anyone happened to notice that among corner outfielders with 1,370+ PA in their age 32-34 seasons, ALEX GORDON, KCR, HAS THE LOWEST OPS+ ( 75 !! ) OF ALL TIME ? (emphasis mine)

Mike L
Guest

And….I’m hating the Drury, McKinney for Happ trade. Cashman—what’s going on?

CursedClevelander
Guest

Well, the Yankees are in danger of their first decade without a pennant since the 1910’s, so I guess he’s throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Mike L
Guest

Excellent point. It is a crisis. But if they keep trading prospects for the old and infirm, we may have to bring Stump Merrill back to manage.

mosc
Guest
A lot of these deals fall into categories I think really don’t explain well what happened 1) A contender gets a piece that finishes out the year strong before leaving and the other team gets a prospect, with extremely limited or non-existent major league experience, that turns into a star. Why is this bad? A lot of times the contending team is not even in contention during these future star years that they “made the worst judgement calls” evaluating. Also, the guy they got leaving is about future seasons. Sometimes you would actually purposely give up a hall of famer… Read more »
mosc
Guest
Like, I don’t know how the 77-78 free agent market worked but Seaver’s value to the ’78-’82 Reds was because he stayed. If he didn’t have to stay in Cincy, why is that counted as the Mets doing something stupid in ’77 when they traded 20 of his starts away (a very nice 5.6 WAR) for 4 guys who’s totals exceed that. Is that the worst trade ever because Seaver pitched 5 good years AFTER all this for the Reds? The ’77 mets stunk, they didn’t miss Seaver that season. They would have stunk just as much with him as… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Jose Ramirez now on pace for
48 HR
37 SB

Only seasons with 45+ HR and 30+ SB

49/33 … Larry Walker
46/41 … Alfonso Soriano

Paul E
Guest

Voom,
OPS+ , age 23-25, 67% G @ 3B; 1901 – present, >/= 1,500 PA’s.
1 Dick Allen 165
2 Eddie Mathews 156
3 Jim Thome 154
4 Miguel Cabrera 146
5 Ron Santo 146
6 Gary Sheffield 145
7 Kris Bryant 142
8 David Wright 142
9 Home Run Baker 141
10 Jose Ramirez 140

Below, SB by the top twenty third-sackers in OPS+ for their age 23-25 seasons. Ramirez currently leads the AL in SB (27). He sure runs well for a fat guy……
1 Home Run Baker 79
2 David Wright 69
3 Jose Ramirez 66
4 Mike Schmidt 60
5 George Brett 58
6 Bill Bradley 47
7 Dick Allen 45
8 Bill Madlock 35
9 Troy Glaus 34
10 Gary Sheffield 34

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