TRADES backfire, it happens. Nailing a trade can swing a franchise’s future for better or worse and it may take years for us to find out the true worth of some trades. These seven baseball trades can be deemed as some of the smartest and stupidest of all time depending on which side of the fence you are sitting on.
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1989 – No Patience For ‘The Big Unit’
Expos get: Mark Langston
Mariners get: Randy Johnson, Brian Holman & Gene Harris
A lack of patience in the young Randy Johnson saw Montreal deal him for a more established pitcher. Mark Langston was just that with a recent All-Star appearance and back-to-back Golden Gloves awards before he landed at the Expos. He was great in his 24 starts but bolted in the offseason to join the Angels. Johnson became a 10x All-Star, with a 3.42 ERA and finished in the top three for Cy Young voting four times in 10 years at Seattle
1990 – Bagwell Reaches Astro-nomical Heights
Astros get: Jeff Bagwell
Red Sox get: Larry Andersen
15 relief appearances (with one save) in exchange for a future MVP and Hall of Famer. Whoops. Boasting a roster full of infield talent the Red Sox decided they had no immediate need for Jeff Bagwell and looked to gain some bullpen help in exchange for the talented prospect. Houston was happy to oblige and Bagwell became the franchise leader in the majority of hitting stats once his 15-year career came to a close.
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1997 – Pedro Martinez. Say No More
Red Sox get: Pedro Martinez
Expos get: Carl Pavano & Tony Armas
IN 1993 the Dodgers made a brain fart by dealing Martinez to Montreal. It was a great deal for the Expos. The Red Sox trade was not a great deal for the Expos. Neither Pavano or Armas amassed into much at Montreal. Martinez went on to produce perhaps the greatest stretch of pitching dominance baseball has ever seen and helped Boston break their 86-year World Series drought.
1997 – Lightning Strikes Twice
Red Sox get: Jason Varitek & Derek Lowe
Mariners get: Heathcliff Slocumb
JUST months after trading for Martinez the Red Sox swiped another franchise-defining deal. Even at the time, the deal seemed to be head scratching for Seattle who desperately needed bullpen help. Acquiring Heathcliff Slocumb (who owned a 5.79 ERA that year) didn’t prove to pan out with the reliever appearing in just 84 games. Lowe and Varitek joined Martinez in becoming key parts of the 2004 World Series win and will live on in Red Sox folklore.
2002 – Three For The Price Of Two
Indians get: Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore & Lee Stevens
Expos get: Bartolo Colon & Tim Drew
THE pain continues for the Montreal Expos. The first three players they traded away all went on to stardom with Lee winning a Cy Young award and forming a lethal 1-2 punch on the mound with CC Sabathia. You know that Bartolo Colon has been in the league for a long when he played for Montreal. He performed admirably for the Expos, but was traded the next year and you can be forgiven for forgetting Tim Drew’s career.
2007 – The Brave Move To Go All In
Braves get: Mark Teixeira & Ron Mahay
Rangers get: Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia & Beau Jones
OWNING a roster that apparently had World Series aspirations meant the Braves went all in on their title hopes in 2007. At the deadline, they landed then star first baseman Mark Teixeira who was batting near .300 with 13 homers. That was fine and in fact, he played well in his two-year stay at Atlanta, but after he was traded to LA there was a clear winner in this trade. Making matters worse, even though Saltalamacchia never lived up to his potential, the three players mentioned before him went on to become key parts of the Rangers back-to-back AL Pennants in ’10 and ’11.
2010 – 267 And Counting
Orioles get: Chris Davis & Tommy Hunter
Rangers get: Koji Uehara
UEHARA had an impressive 2.50 ERA with Texas and stuck out 66 batters. However, he only faced 199 batsmen before the Rangers opted to let him walk in free agency. Further rubbing salt into the wounds, Uehara went on to join the Red Sox’s bullpen in 2013 contributing 79 saves in four seasons at Boston with an ERA of 2.19. The power hitter Davis twice has led the MLB in home runs and finished third in MVP voting in 2013, while Tommy Hunter proved to be a solid set up guy during his six-year tenure at the Orioles.
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