Every MLB Team’s Best Trade Since 2000
With the upcoming MLB trade deadline, many teams will either look to be buyers in anticipation of the playoffs or sellers as they will look to rebuild for the future. MLB teams will find bargain deals or will be ripped off. Every team has had their share of great, bargain deals throughout the last two decades. From acquiring a superstar to obtaining a prospect that would eventually become a star, every team can reminiscence back to that one trade where they would bring in a top impact player that would change the organization. What was the best trade for your favorite team?
American League West
- December 12, 2007: Orioles trade Miguel Tejada to the Astros for Matt Albers, Mike Costanzo, Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate, and Luke Scott
From Craig Biggio to Lance Berkman to Jose Altuve, many of the Astros best players since 2000 have been acquired through the draft or free agency. After their 2005 World Series run, the Astros felt that the team only had a few years left to compete before the rebuilding era starts in Houston. With that in mind, Houston acquired Miguel Tejeda. Although Tejeda only spent two seasons in Houston, he would go on to play in two All-Star games and accumulate 27 home runs and 152 RBI’s in his two seasons with Houston. Pitchers were relieved that Tejada was past his prime years but he would still be a consistent hitter as he combined for 378 hits on a .298 average in his two seasons with Houston. He would also go on to lead the team to an 86-75 record in 2008 but the Astros missed the playoffs.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
- March 23, 2000: Cardinals trade Adam Kennedy to the Angels for Jim Edmonds
It is rare these days to see a win-win trade where both teams acquire a player that would go on to give a positive impact to the team for years to come. That is what happened with the Kennedy/Edmonds trade. After seven seasons where Edmonds became one of baseball’s top “two-way” players with good hitting and exceptional defense, the Angels traded him to the Cardinals. With St. Louis, he would turn into one of the best power hitters in MLB and he would also help the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series. With Kennedy, he turned out to become one of the best 2nd baseman in the American League. In 2002, he had his best season with the Angels where he hit .312 and was a huge part of their championship run. In the 2002 playoffs, he hit .500 against the Yankees in the ALDS, .357 against the Twins in the ALCS, and .280 against the Giants in the World Series.
Angels fans will never forget his Reggie Jackson-like performance in the ALCS:
Honorable mention: July 13, 2001- Rockies trade Chone Figgins to the Angels for Kimera Bartee.
- December 18, 2004: Cardinals traded Daric Barton, Kiko Calero, and Dan Haren to the Athletics for Mark Mulder
Looking back, imagine if Dan Haren pitched for those 2000’s Cardinals teams? Well that did not happen and it’s all because of a solid trade by Billy Beane. Beane has been known for agreeing to some awful trades but he has pulled off a few steal trades. With the Cardinals losing hope in Dan Haren, they looked for a top of the rotation starter and they ended up trading for Mark Mulder. After a few All-Star seasons with the A’s, he would go on to pitch 311 innings in four years with the Cardinals. Beane easily won the deal as Haren would pitch over 200 innings in his three years with the A’s and an effective 3.64. Daric Barton would go on to play eight seasons for the A’s and was another OBP gem discovery by Beane. Kiko Calero would go on to pitch four seasons for the A’s and he would become a go to reliever for the A’s during a RISP jam.
Honorable mention: July 8, 2008 – Athletics traded Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden to the Cubs for Josh Donaldson, Matt Murton, Sean Gallagher, and Eric Patterson
- December 11th, 2008: Mariners sent Sean Green, J.J Putz, and Jeremy Reed to the Mets. Mariners sent Luis Valbuena to the Indians. Mets sent Joe Smith to the Indians. Mets sent Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chávez, Maikel Cleto, Aaron Heilman and Jason Vargas to the Mariners. Indians sent Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners.
This trade was successful for the Mariners because of two players, Jason Vargas and Franklin Gutierrez. Jason Vargas went on to become a reliable starter for the Mariners in his four seasons with Seattle. Vargas had an ERA of 4.02 and pitched 702 innings with six complete games. With Gutierrez, he became a surprise run producer in his first two seasons with Seattle as he drove in 134 runs to go along with good contact hitting. The Mets came away as the biggest losers in this trade as they traded away a starter in Jason Vargas, a solid outfielder player in Franklin Gutierrez and they sent the Indians a reliever with an effective slider in Joe Smith.
- July 19, 2000: Blue Jays traded Michael Young and Darwin Cubillan to the Rangers for Esteban Loaiza
Who would have known that when Texas acquired Michael Young, he would really go on to become the Rangers Cal Ripken Jr. In Young’s 13 seasons with the Rangers, he turn into one of the best hitters in the American League. Young won the batting title in 2005 and would hit at least .300 in seven seasons. Young played at least 150 games in 10 out of his 13 seasons with Texas and he would become one of the well-respected players in baseball. A 7-time All-Star, Youg would remain committed to the Rangers even after their top stars in Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira would eventually leave to go on to play for a playoff contending team. The patience would finally pay off in 2010 and 2011 as Michael Young finally got to play in the playoffs and those seasons would turn out to be American League championship seasons.
Michael Young is no doubt one of the greatest Rangers of all-time.
Honorable mentions: December 21, 2007: Reds traded Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for Danny Herrera and Edinson Volquez.
July 31, 2007: Rangers traded Ron Mahay and Mark Teixeira to the Braves for Beau Jones, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox
- June 27, 2004: White Sox traded Mike Morse, Miguel Olivo and Jeremy Reed to the Mariners for Ben Davis and Freddy Garcia
There were plenty of options for best White Sox trade since 2000 such as the Jim Thome trade, Juan Uribe trade, and the Scott Podsednik trade. Why the Freddy Garcia trade? This is a big reason why.
In arguably the biggest game in the history of the White Sox, Freddy Garcia went 7 innings, allowed 4 hits, 0 runs, and struck out 7 in a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros to win the 2005 World Series. In his five years with the White Sox, Garcia would end up becoming the #2 starter behind Mark Buehrle. He would go on to pitch 760 innings with a 4.33 ERA. The White Sox did trade him to the Phillies in 2007 for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez but they would end up bringing back Garcia for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
- June 27, 2002: Indians traded Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew to the Expos for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens.
What a steal this trade would end up becoming. As the trade deadline was inching closer in 2002, the Expos felt that they would need a starter to help fight for a playoff spot in the National League so they traded for Bartolo Colon. Colon did pitch well for the Expos in his short time there with a 3.12 ERA but the Expos missed the playoffs and Colon would end up signing with the White Sox for the 2003 season. With the Indians, they struck gold. Even though Cliff Lee would struggle early in his career with mechanics issues, he would have his breakout season in 2008 as he won the AL CY Young award with a 22-3 record, 2.54 ERA, 170 strikeouts, and 223.1 innings pitched. With his trade value at an all-time high, the Indians would trade him in 2009 to the Phillies for Carlos Carrasco and three other players. With Grady Sizemore, he would earn MVP votes in his first four seasons as the starting centerfielder for the Indians. AL Central rivals feared that his potential could possibly reach a Ken Griffey Jr. level where he would become a Gold Glove power hitter that can hit for a good average. Too bad for the Indians as after his stellar MVP-type season in 2008, the miserable downfall would begin.
Honorable mentions: December 6, 2002- Indians traded Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese to the Rangers for Travis Hafner and Aaron Myette.
July 31, 2010: Padres traded Corey Kluber to the Indians. Padres traded Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals. Indians traded Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals. Cardinals traded Ryan Ludwick to the Padres.
- December 4, 2007: Marlins traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers for Dallas Trahern , Burke Badenhop, Frankie De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo.
You can make a strong case that this trade has been the best trade since 2000 in MLB. After a five strong seasons where Cabrera would become one of the best power hitters in baseball, the Marlins decided that it was to trade Cabrera to begin the depressing rebuilding era. Of the five players that the Marlins received, Burke Badenhop would last the longest with the Marlins as he played four seasons and Andrew Miller would go on to have the best career as he is now a dominant reliever for the Yankees.
Cabrera is still with the Tigers and he is currently having a unique Hall of Fame career. With Detroit, Cabrera has hit for a line of .324/.404/.569 with 290 home runs and 981 RBI’s. He has finished as the AL batting champion in 4 seasons and has won the AL MVP two times. Aside from winning the World Series with the Marlins, his best achievement was becoming the player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the triple crown as he hit .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI’s. He is locked up with the Tigers until 2025 and he will continue to cement his legacy as one of the greatest hitters of all-time.
Kansas City Royals
- December 19, 2010: Royals traded Yuniesky Betancourt, Zack Greinke and cash to Brewers for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi.
In 2010, the Royals made Zack Greinke available and many teams made some “kings ransom” offers but they ended up trading him to the Brewers. Usually when a team trades a star player for prospects, those prospects either never make it to the big leagues or turn out to be busts, but that is not the case with the Royals/Greinke trade. The Royals ended up trading Odorizzi and Jeffresses is back with the Brewers but wow, adding Cain and Escobar have been two huge additions. Alicides Escobar would win the starting shortstop job right away in his first season with the Royals and it’s been his ever since. He has been a consistent hitter for the Royals and his outstanding defense was finally recognized last season when he won a Gold Glove. Lorenzo Cain has also had a solid career with the Royals including last season when he finished in the top three in the AL MVP voting and his 2014 ALCS MVP performance. Escobar and Cain will be Royals for a long long time.
Honorable Mention: December 9, 2012- Rays traded Wade Davis, Elliot Johnson, and James Shields to the Royals for Patrick Leonard, Mike Montgomery, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi.
- November 14, 2003: Twins traded A.J. Pierzynski and cash to the Giants for Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan.
Former Twins general manager Terry Ryan was infamous for relying solely on the farm system and minor deals to build up the team, so whenever he made a high-profile trade, it was a big deal. After an ALCS loss to the Angels in 2002 and an ALDS loss to the Yankees in 2003, Ryan decided to take a gamble and trade A.J Pierzynski, who just came off of his best offensive season, to the Giants for young pitchers Liriano and Nathan. Pierzynski went on to have a quality career, but not with the Giants as he would go on to play eight seasons with the White Sox and win a World Series.
Along with pitchers such as Francisco Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera, Twins closer Joe Nathan would become one of the dominant closers of the 2000’s. Nathan would finish with 260 saves in his 7 years with Minnesota and a 2.16 ERA. With Liriano, you never know which one you would get and that would be how most Twins fans would remember his time in Minnesota. Twins GM Terry Ryan would go on to put together a well-rounded Twins team in the 2000’s and it amounted to nothing as they would go on to lose in the ALDS in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2009, and 2010 with 4 out of 5 losses coming against the Yankees.
American League East
- February 8, 2008: Orioles traded Erik Bedard to the Mariners for Tony Butler, Adam Jones, Kam Mickolio, George Sherrill and Chris Tillman.
Any MLB executive and general manager will tell you to always consider an offer for a pitcher that just had their breakout season and that is exactly what the Orioles did. A top prospect in the Orioles system, Erik Bedard finally was able to string together a couple of good seasons in 2006 and 2007. After an ‘07 campaign where he finished in the top 5 in the AL CY Young voting, the Orioles sold when the price was high and traded him to Seattle. The Orioles would receive an eventual All-Star in Adam Jones and a reliable starter who can give you 30+ starts of 3 ERA baseball in Chris Tillman. Bedard would go on to deal with plenty of injury issues and eventually he would retire in 2015.
Honorable mention: July 30, 2011: Orioles traded Koji Uehara to the Rangers for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.
Boston Red Sox
- November 24, 2005: Marlins traded Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to the Red Sox for Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
At the time of the trade, many analysts considered this trade to be another Theo Epstein heist. The Red Sox would be acquiring 25-year-old Josh Beckett who two seasons ago, shut down the Yankees in the 2003 World Series with 16.1 innings of 1.10 ERA baseball. Looking back at this trade, it was a fair one. Hanley Ramirez would go on to win an NL batting title with the Marlins and Anibal Sanchez became an ace for the Marlins. For the Red Sox, they got just what they wanted. Beckett and Lowell would play a huge part in the Red Sox 2007 World Series title run as Beckett won the 2007 ALCS MVP and Lowell won the 2007 World Series MVP. Beckett would have his share of control issues but he would provide Boston with 7 years of solid pitching and Lowell would continue to help out Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz in the lineup as a run producer.
Honorable mention: November 28, 2003: Red Sox traded Mike Goss, Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon and Jorge De La Rosa to the Diamondbacks for Curt Schilling.
New York Yankees
- February 16, 2004: Rangers traded Alex Rodriguez and cash to the Yankees for Joaquin Arias and Alfonso Soriano.
The trade that changed baseball. In 2004, many Red Sox and Yankees fans watched SportsCenter everyday for updates, checked MSN for updates and chatted with friends through AOL mail for updates. Where was Alex Rodriguez going to be traded to? Just like their 2003 ALCS war, it was a neck and neck battle but the Yankees were victors once again. The Yankees gave up Alfonso Soriano but acquired A-Rod, who was coming off of six consecutive seasons of at least 40 home runs and 110 RBI’s. Alex Rodriguez would go on to win 3 MVP awards with the Yankees as he currently has totaled 351 home runs, 1094 RBI’s on a .284 average. He would go on to win a World Series with the Yankees in 2009. When you add a player like Alex Rodriguez to a big sports market like New York, of course there will be drama and downsides. From the 2004 ALCS collapse, to the steroid controversy, to his $275 million dollar deal that the Yankees are now suffering from, and to his horrendous struggles in the 2010-2012 playoffs, A-Rod will be a player that baseball fans will definitely not forget.
Tampa Bay Rays
- January 8, 2011: Rays traded Matt Garza, Fernando Perez and Zac Rosscup to the Cubs for Hak-Ju Lee , Chris Archer, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer.
At the time of the trade, this was just an odd and peculiar deal. Even though they were still in contention for a playoff run, the Rays traded away yet another core starting pitcher for prospects. From the Cubs perspective, they were still miles behind the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds for the NL Central crown. Now Garza would go on to be a very good pitcher for the Cubs as he pitched to a 3.45 ERA in his three seasons with the Cubs but they were all in losing seasons and Chicago was better off going into a rebuild era with a pitcher like Chris Archer. Instead, Archer would provide his All-Star caliber pitching services to the Rays. Archer is now growing into of the better pitcher in the American League. He was an All-Star last season and finished in the top 5 in the CY Young voting. A dominant strikeout pitcher with an effective trio of a 95 mph fastball, 88 mph change and an 88 mph slider.
Toronto Blue Jays
- August 21, 2008: Pirates traded Jose Bautista to the Blue Jays for Robinzon Diaz.
After years of struggles and hardships, the Blue Jays decided to give Jose Bautista a chance and it has paid off. In his 3rd season with Toronto, he exploded for 54 home runs and 124 RBI’s. A late bloomer, he has been one of the more intimidating and best power hitters in MLB. Bautista has hit at least 27 home runs since 2010. He has also been a huge part of the baseball revival in Canada. With the majority of attention in Canada going to hockey, the Blue Jays, along with the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, have been able to put together a fantastic year in Canadian sports. Bautista was able to help the Blue Jays win the AL East and clinch a playoff spot for the first time since their 1993 World Series win.
Jose Bautista was able to give Toronto sports fans a moment that they will never forget.
Honorable mentions: November 28, 2014: Athletics traded Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for Franklin Barreto, Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie and Sean Nolin.
July 31, 2009: Reds traded Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart to the Blue Jays for Scott Rolen.
National League West
- July 26, 2000: Phillies traded Curt Schilling to the Diamondbacks for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla.
If this trade does not happen, we could be talking about a 4-peat for the New York Yankees where the Yankees could be handing the Braves another World Series loss in the 2001 Fall Classic. After nine seasons with the Phillies, Schilling was traded to the Diamondbacks and the beginning of one of the greatest 1-2 starters in MLB history. Schilling would play four seasons for the Diamondbacks and his stats were worthy of a CY Young or two. Schilling sported a 3.14 ERA, 18 complete games, 875 strikeouts and 781 innings pitched. He finished 2nd behind teammate Randy Johnson for the 2001 and 2002 CY Young awards. His greatest achievement with Arizona would be their 2001 World Series run where he and Randy Johnson carried the team to an “underdog” win. Schilling would win the 2001 World Series MVP as he started three games in the World Series and had a 1.69 ERA in 21.1 innings pitched with 26 strikeouts against the Yankees… video game numbers.
- November 10, 2008: Rockies traded Matt Holliday to the Athletics for Carlos Gonzalez, Greg Smith and Huston Street.
In a classic case of trading away your future for a one-year rental, the Rockies robbed Billy Beane as they traded Matt Holliday to the Athletics. The move would end up becoming a disaster movie as the A’s were out of the playoff race by July so they ended up trading Holiday to the Cardinals before the MLB Trade Deadline in 2009 for three players that would not even play before a full season for the A’s. With the Rockies, they would get 84 saves out closer Huston Street before they traded Street to the Padres. The prized prospect in this trade was Carlos Gonzalez and he has not disappointed at all. In eight seasons with the Rockies, Gonzalez has won three Gold Glove awards, two Silver Slugger awards, and has been an All-Star three times. Constant nagging injury issues have prevented him from breaking out to become the next MLB superstar and he has all the tools to do so. At 30, he can still become… the next Carlos Beltran.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- August 25, 2012: Red Sox traded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto and cash to the Dodgers Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus, James Loney and Allen Webster.
Financially, this trade could set a franchise back five years but the Dodgers were one of the two teams that could have afforded to agree to a trade like this. From the Red Sox perspective, they are not winning the 2013 World Series without this trade as they dumped off the huge contracts of Crawford, Beckett, and Gonzalez to the Dodgers.
With the Dodgers, Josh Beckett’s best season was his last season as he pitched 115 innings with a 2.88 ERA and pitched a no-hitter. Beckett would be sidelined with a hip injury and he would go on to retire after the 2014 season. Crawford also dealt with injury problems as he would just play 320 games in four seasons with the Dodgers. Even though Crawford and Beckett were busts, this trade was great for the Dodgers because of Adrian Gonzalez. In his return back to southern California, Gonzalez has once again become one of the best 1st baseman in the National League. So far in five seasons with the Dodgers, he has received MVP votes in three seasons, one Gold Glove award, one Silver Slugger award, and has hit 89 home runs.
San Diego Padres
- January 6, 2006: Padres traded Billy Killian, Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka to the Rangers for Adrian Gonzalez, Terrmel Sledge and Chris Young.
Oh look, it’s Adrian Gonzalez again. Before he became a star 1st baseman for the Padres, Red Sox, and Dodgers, he was a struggling to breakout with the Rangers due to the fact that Mark Teixeira was also playing 1st base and hitting at least 30 home runs/100 RBIs each season. The Rangers decided to trade him away to San Diego and he was finally given a chance to breakout. In five seasons with the Padres, he hit 161 home runs and drove in 379 runs. He received MVP votes in all five seasons with San Diego and he would provide exceptional defense at 1st base.
San Francisco Giants
- July 31, 2012: Giants traded Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin and Nate Schierholtz to the Phillies for Hunter Pence.
What he brings to the Giants team is more than just what he produces on the field. Hunter Pence was born to be a leader and many fans remember seeing his pre-game speeches and how he got his team hyped up during the 2014 World Series. On the field when he is healthy, he does it all. Good contact hitter with speed, can give you 20 home runs with 90 RBI’s in a season, and can give you great range on defense. A lot of players state that they give 110% effort per game but Pence is one of those players that actually lives up to that claim. He has come through for the Giants when it has mattered with his .286 average in the 2012 World Series and his incredible .444 average in the 2014 World Series.
A unique player that… does unique things.
Honorable mentions: July 31, 2010: Pirates traded Javier Lopez to the Giants for John Bowker and Joe Martinez.
July 27, 2012: Rockies traded Marco Scutaro and cash to the Giants for Charlie Culberson.
National League Central
- April 7, 2006: Indians traded Brandon Phillips to the Reds for Jeff Stevens.
Brandon Phillips was acquired by the Indians in the Cliff Lee trade and he really struggled during his time in Cleveland. Phillips batted .206 in 462 plate appearances with the Indians so they decided to trade him to their in-state rivals, the Reds. A year after the trade, the Indians front office were in disbelief as they witnessed a breakout season by Phillips. He would have a .276/.324/.427 line with 17 home runs and 75 RBI’s. Phillips would go on to go play in three All-Star games and turn into one of the best 2nd baseman in the National League. Phillips will be a free agent in 2018 but is safe to say that this trade has been one of the best “change of scenery” trades since 2000.
Honorable mentions: February 10, 2000: Mariners traded Ken Griffey to the Reds for Jake Meyer, Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez and Brett Tomko.
March 20, 2006: Red Sox traded Bronson Arroyo and cash to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena.
- July 2, 2013: Cubs traded Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles for Jake Arrieta, Pedro Strop and cash.
When the Orioles traded Jake Arrieta to the Cubs, many O’s fans celebrated his departure but by the end of the 2016 season, Arrieta could be part of a much bigger celebration. With the Orioles, Arrieta really struggled with command and opponents would get hits off of Arrieta with ease. The Orioles ended the Arrieta experiment and shipped him off to Chicago where he has turned into one of the best pitchers in baseball. In 2015, Arrieta won the AL CY Young award with a dazzling 1.77 ERA, 236 strikeouts, 3 shutouts, and a WHIP of 0.865. Arrieta will look to finish his career being the ace of the Chicago Cubs. Pedro Strop was also part of this trade and he has become a solid reliever with a 2.65 ERA in four seasons with the Cubs.
Honorable mentions: January 6, 2012: Cubs traded Kyung-Min Na and Andrew Cashner to the Padres for Zach Cates and Anthony Rizzo.
July 23, 2003: Pirates traded Kenny Lofton, Aramis Ramirez and cash to the Cubs for Bobby Hill, Matt Bruback and Jose Hernandez.
- July 28, 2000: Indians traded Marco Scutaro, Kane Davis, Paul Rigdon and Richie Sexson to the Brewers for Jason Bere, Bob Wickman and Steve Woodard.
Richie Sexson was one of the underrated power hitters of the 2000’s. When steroid hitters like Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Rafael Palmeiro were getting all of the attention from the national sports media, Sexson was quietly putting up good numbers. Sexson spent 3 ½ seasons with the Brewers after being traded by Cleveland. In 2 of his 3 full seasons with Milwaukee, he would hit 45 home runs and drive in 125 RBI’s. He would finally start to get some recognition as a top power hitter when he was named to the All-Star game in 2002 and 2003. With the Brewers, he would hit a decent .276 and accumulate 1,065 total bases.
Honorable mentions: November 6, 2009- Twins traded Carlos Gomez to the Brewers for J.J. Hardy
- July 31, 2003: Red Sox traded Mike Gonzalez, Freddy Sanchez and cash to the Pirates for Brandon Lyon, Anastacio Martinez and Jeff Suppan.
In hopes of making a deep run in the 2003 playoffs, the Red Sox acquired three pitchers from the Pirates. In return, the Pirates would receive the Red Sox young 2nd baseman, Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez would struggle early on but finally break through in 2006 when he would win the NL batting title with an impressive .344 average. Sanchez would emerge as the team’s best hitter and would go on to play six seasons with the Pirates. He would average .301, hit 175 doubles, and represent the Pirates at three All-Star games. Too bad for Sanchez that he played on miserable, losing Pirate teams as he would get overlooked by 2nd baseman such as Placido Polanco and Jeff Kent in the 2000’s because Sanchez played on a losing team.
Honorable mentions: August 26, 2003: Padres traded Corey Stewart, Jason Bay and Oliver Perez to the Pirates for Brian Giles.
December 26, 2012: Red Sox traded Ivan De Jesus, Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel and Jerry Sands to the Pirates for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt.
St. Louis Cardinals
- December 13, 2003: Cardinals traded J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero to the Braves for Ray King, Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright.
This was an ironic and odd trade to Braves and Cardinals fans. For a decade plus, the Braves were a consistent playoff team due to their amazing pitching staff and have been notorious for discovering pitching gems through their farm system or trades. With this trade, the Braves struck out looking. The Braves acquired J.D Drew, who had an MVP type season in 2004, but he left through free agency after the 2004 season.
The Cardinals knew that Wainwright would become a star after this signature clutch moment.
In 2007, Wainwright would start the season as a starter and it’s been one of the Cardinals best decisions yet. Wainwright has been with the Cardinals for eight seasons and he has finished in the top three in the NL CY Young Award voting four times. He has pitched 1701.2 innings with a 3.01 ERA and a 3.03 postseason ERA. Wainwright’s sinker and curveball have been frustrating hitters for over a decade now and that looks to be the case for a few more seasons.
Honorable mentions: December 14, 2007: Cardinals traded Jim Edmonds to the Padres for David Freese.
July 24, 2009: Athletics traded Matt Holliday to the Cardinals for Clayton Mortensen, Shane Peterson and Brett Wallace.
National League East
- December 16, 2004: Braves traded Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas to the Athletics for Tim Hudson.
Just another awful trade by A’s GM Billy Beane. Even after five straight 90 win seasons, Beane felt that it was best to trade Tim Hudson to the Braves. Beane received three prospects that would not even play three seasons with Oakland. On the other hand, Hudson was an ace for Oakland and that would carry on into in his Braves tenure. Hudson would be the workhorse of the Braves rotation as he would pitch 1,573 innings in nine seasons with Atlanta to go along with a 113-72 record and an ERA of 3.56. Hudson was be just another great pitcher in Braves history.
- November 16, 2002: Rockies traded Mike Hampton, Juan Pierre and cash to the Marlins for Vic Darensbourg, Charles Johnson, Pablo Ozuna and Preston Wilson.
The Marlins have made some horrible trades since 2000. From trading Miguel Cabrera, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Derek Lee, Matt Clement and Cliff Floyd, the Marlins have either made some trades where they received bust prospects or made an unnecessary trade. The Marlins did make one solid trade and he would go on to play a big part in their 2003 World Series run. Coming over from the Rockies, Juan Pierre played three seasons with the Marlins and never missed a game. In the Marlins 2003 World Series title run season, Pierre had a great year 100 runs, 204 hits, 65 stolen bases and a .305 average. Pierre would come up clutch for the Marlins as he hit .303 in the NLCS against the Cubs and hit .333 in the 2003 World Series against the Yankees. The perfect, reliable leadoff hitter that any team would want.
New York Mets
- December 17, 2012: Mets traded R.A. Dickey, Mike Nickeas and Josh Thole to the Blue Jays for Wuilmer Becerra, John Buck, Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard.
As said before, always consider a trading away a player when the price is at an all-time high after the player had their “breakout“ season. That is exactly what the Mets did. After winning the 2012 NL CY Young award, the Mets traded R.A Dickey to the Blue Jays in a blockbuster deal that brought over Noah Syndergaard. What a heist deal. Syndergaard has already become one of the best pitchers in the National League. He pitched 150 innings last season with a 3.24 ERA in his rookie season and was clutch for the Mets in their World Series run. This season, Syndergaard was named to the All-Star game and the sky’s the limit for him. The next Tom Seaver?
Honorable mention: November 24, 2005: Marlins traded Carlos Delgado and cash to the Mets for Grant Psomas, Mike Jacobs and Yusmeiro Petit.
July 31, 2015: Tigers traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets for Luis Cessa and Michael Fulmer.
- December 16, 2009: Blue Jays traded Roy Halladay and cash to the Phillies for Travis d’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek and Michael Taylor.
After two consecutive World Series seasons, how could the Phillies possibly get better? Well, how about add one of the best and more dominant pitchers of the 2000’s. After 12 seasons with Toronto, he was traded to the championship contending Phillies and made a quick splash in the National League. He won the NL CY Young award in his first season in Philly with a 2.44 ERA with 250.2 innings pitched, 219 strikeouts and 9 complete games. Halladay’s 2010 season was one of the best for a pitcher in years, not only because of his NL CY Young award, but also because of two special games that he pitched. On May 29th, 2010, Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Marlins on 115 pitches and 11 strikeouts.
In his first playoff game, he pitched yet another gem.
Halladay would pitch three more seasons with the Phillies before retiring.
Honorable mention: November 7, 2007: Astros traded Eric Bruntlett and Brad Lidge to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, Mike Costanzo and Geoff Geary.
- December 23, 2011: Athletics traded Robert Gilliam and Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals for A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock.
With the Nationals finally looking to contend in the National League, they went for a high risk, high reward trade in acquiring Gio Gonzalez. Billy Beane and the A’s picked up four players with two of them contributing multiple seasons for Oakland. Gio Gonzalez has been with the Nationals for five seasons already and he has been the backbone of that rotation. In his time with Washington, he has a 59-42 record with 845 innings pitched and an ERA of 3.53. With many of the Nationals pitchers either leaving or have just dealt with injury problems, Gio has been reliable starter for the Nationals and has always been there for his team when needed. He will be a free agent this winter so it is best for the Nationals to re-sign him on a four or five year deal.