Best and worst in-season trades for each franchise over the last 20 years

ArizonaAtlantaBaltimoreBostonChicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox – CincinnatiClevelandColoradoDetroit
HoustonKansas City – LA AngelsLA DodgersMiami
MilwaukeeMinnesotaNew York Mets – New York YankeesOakland
PhiladelphiaPittsburghSt. LouisSan Diego – San Francisco
SeattleTampa BayTexasTorontoWashington

moyersea
Seattle Mariners
Best trade: Acquired Jamie Moyer from Red Sox for Darren Bragg (July 30, 1996)
Jamie Moyer was already 33 when the Mariners acquired him from the Red Sox in 1996. Over his 11 years with the team, Moyer would post a 3.97 ERA in 2,093 innings, and he crossed the 4.00 ERA mark just once in his first seven and a half seasons with the team. He also picked up Cy Young votes in three seasons, which is pretty rare for a soft tosser like Moyer. This performance is pretty shocking from a guy who had a 4.51 ERA over the first ten seasons of his career. And as for Bragg? Well, he hit .264/.346/.395 in his three years with the Red Sox, which was actually below average given that it was the late-90s and offense was off the charts.

Worst trade: Acquired Ben Broussard from Indians for Shin-Soo Choo and Shawn Nottingham (July 26, 2006)
As a Mariner, Ben Broussard hit .260/.311/.413 in 155 games over two seasons. He played in 26 games with the Rangers in 2008, and has never made it make to the majors. As an Indian, Shin-Soo Choo hit .292/.383/.469 in 685 games over seven seasons before eventually getting dealt as part of the trade that netted the Tribe Trevor Bauer and Bryan Shaw. Considering the difficulties that Seattle has had putting runs on the board in recent years, imagine if they had Choo in their outfield instead of a revolving crop of fourth outfielders that have all sorts of issues with their sticks.

kazrays

Tampa Bay Rays
Best trade: Acquired Scott Kazmir and Jose Diaz from Mets for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano (July 30, 2004)
Ah yes, this trade again. I don’t think I need to go over just how fantastic this worked out for Tampa Bay. Even though Kazmir spent the bulk of his career with the club when they were still a laughingstock, he still had a 3.92 ERA in six seasons and made a pair of All-Star teams. They also saved a bunch of money by flipping Zambrano to the Mets right as he was getting expensive, and didn’t have to pay Kazmir much of anything until the team was actually, you know, good. That’s always a positive.

Worst trade: Acquired Aneury Rodriguez from Rockies for Jason Hammel (April 5, 2009)
The Rays didn’t make many awful trades during the season in the Chuck LaMar era, and they don’t make many in-season trades at all during the Andrew Friedman era. And while it might be a stretch to say that trading Hammel, who had a 5.90 ERA in three seasons with the Rays, was a mistake, it’s still *something*. Rodriguez didn’t throw an inning for Tampa Bay, while Hammel has been at least adequate for the Rockies, Orioles, and Cubs before getting dealt to the A’s along with Jeff Samardzija earlier this month. Like I said – this trade wasn’t some sort of affront against humanity (like we’ve seen earlier in this marathon of a column), but it was the worst of what the Rays have done.

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers
Best trade: Acquired Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia from Braves for Ron Mahay and Mark Teixeira (July 31, 2007)
While you can question this trade’s impact on the Braves, you can’t question the impact it had on the Rangers – it helped move the team into a new era. Teixeira obviously hit the cover off of the ball in the year and a half after this trade, but the Rangers picked up several players that would be key parts of their future. Andrus has been the team’s starting shortstop since 2009, and while you can rightfully question his contract extension, he’s one of the better defensive shortstops in the game. Feliz was the team’s closer for two years, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2010, and is working his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2012. He’s still only 26. Harrison broke out in 2011, and started 30 games in both 2011 and 2012 before back injuries began to sabotage his career. Saltalamacchia gave the team some decent production behind the plate before getting dealt to Boston, where he really began to blossom. Yes, Texas didn’t find a replacement for Teixeira until their ill-advised trade for Prince Fielder this winter, but if they don’t make this trade, the 2010 and 2011 AL pennants don’t happen.

Worst trade: Acquired Chris McGuinness, Roman Mendez, and Michael Thomas from Red Sox for Jarrod Saltalamacchia (July 31, 2010)
In exchange for Saltalamacchia, the Rangers got McGuinness (34 career plate appearances, now with the Pirates), Mendez (8 2/3 scoreless innings in the majors, currently on Texas’s roster), and Thomas (never played an inning with Texas, out of baseball). Saltalamacchia hit .243/.307/.455 in Boston, showing a power streak that he never showed as a Ranger. Considering he was hurt for nearly all of the 2010 season, it wasn’t necessarily a huge loss at the time. But the Rangers haven’t exactly gotten much production from behind the plate after dealing Saltalamacchia, with only Mike Napoli (a catcher in name only) holding up his end of the bargain.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays
Best trade: Acquired Jose Bautista from Pirates for Robinzon Diaz (August 21, 2008)
Who would have thought that an August post-deadline trade would affect the Blue Jays this month? Diaz was a warm body in the organization, serving as catching depth, and would play in just 44 games in the majors during his brief career. Bautista was an enigma, a guy who had bounced from organization to organization without making much of an impact at any of his stops. And it looked like Toronto would be just another one of those disappointed suitors following an ugly 21 game tryout in 2008, and a mediocre 2009. Then in 2010…well, you know how the story goes from here. Since 2010, Bautista has been one of the American League’s best power hitters. During his Blue Jays career, including those aforementioned 2008 and 2009 seasons, Joey Bats has hit .265/.384/.535 with 185 home runs, made five All-Star teams, and finished in the top five in the AL MVP voting twice, with another high finish possibly coming in 2014. It took awhile for everything to come together for him, but the Jays are glad it finally did – all at the cost of depth.

Worst trade: Acquired Esteban Loaiza from Rangers for Darwin Cubillan and Michael Young (July 19, 2000)
With the Blue Jays, Loaiza pitched about as well as you’d expect. He had a 4.96 ERA in 433 1/3 innings, a slight improvement over the 5.19 mark he posted with the Rangers. That was actually pretty good given the ghastly state of Toronto’s rotation at the time, which was just breaking in an erratic kid named Roy Halladay. The price they paid for Loaiza was steep. Cubillian wasn’t much of anything, an extra man in a bullpen at his peak. But Young was a 23-year old who did nothing but hit in the minors at the time of the trade, and Toronto didn’t exactly have much at second base in Homer Bush at the time. Young started his career slowly, but once the train started chugging along in 2004, he wouldn’t be stopped. Overall, Young hit .301/.347/.444 with the Rangers, made seven All-Star teams, received MVP votes in another five season, and even won a Gold Glove in 2008. He spent most of his time in Texas at short, but also played at second and third. He would have been a great fit at any of the three positions for the Blue Jays, who seemingly trotted someone different out at each position every year or two.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos
Best trade: Acquired Michael Morse from Mariners for Ryan Langerhans (June 28, 2009)
Washington has made some sneaky good in-season trades in previous seasons, and while the Wilson Ramos trade obviously also worked out well for them, they arguably ended up in an even better place after this trade. Ryan Langerhans was an all-glove fourth outfielder that played very well in 2008 for Washington, but fell victim to a numbers crunch and was shuffled off to AAA. They dealt him for Morse, who was then a utility guy that had never got consistent playing time in the majors. Washington eventually installed him into their every day lineup, playing him either in the outfield or at first base, and he mashed. In parts of four seasons with the Nationals, Morse hit .294/.343/.514, and while his defense was an adventure at times, Morse still pounded the hell out of the ball. Langerhans only played in a total of 123 games after the trade, mainly coming off the bench in Seattle before getting very brief tenures with the Angels and Blue Jays. Washington flipped Morse to the Mariners as part of a three-team trade before the 2013 season, acquiring pitching prospect A.J. Cole, pitcher Blake Treinen, and reliever Ian Krol, who was part of last winter’s Doug Fister trade.

Worst trade: Acquired Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew from Indians for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore, and Lee Stevens (June 27, 2002)
I know the logic behind the trade. Omar Minaya didn’t know if baseball in Montreal would be a thing in 2003, so he went for broke when he realized that the Expos were surprisingly above .500 and in contention (sort of). But things didn’t go according to plan – Montreal played just .500 ball after the deal and missed the playoffs, though Colon did pitch reasonably well. He was traded after the season to the White Sox for a disappointing return of Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez, and Jeff Liefer, largely because the team couldn’t afford Colon’s $8.25 million salary. Baseball stayed in Montreal for 2003 and 2004, but left for Washington after that season. The franchise didn’t hit the 83 win mark again until 2012. Lee, Phillips, and Sizemore all became stars for various lengths of time. The thought process behind the trade made sense, but it ended up deep sixing the franchise during their first few years in DC.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.

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