The 2012 MLB Trade Deadline is a mere four days away and a lot of teams think they are going to pull a rabbit out of their hat. Many GMs believe they are making that magic deal that will put their team over the top, while other GMs look forward to rebuilding a foundation by trading their top stars. Some deadline deals are made before July 31st, while others are many in the final minutes, making it one of the most stressful days as a fan. Needless to say, the Trade Deadline is one of the biggest hindsight is 20/20 days there is.
Against my better judgement – because I’m sure I’m missing some deals – I decided to make a Top 10 list of the most impactful trades since the year 2000. If I didn’t set a parameter on my research, my mind would be fried looking up so many deals. Ergo, the year 2000 was the cutting off point, so Randy Johnson to the Astros can get its praise now. The order is pretty interchangable, but without further adieu, my gracious attempt to headline the 10 biggest deadline deals since the year 2000.
10. Jermaine Dye to the Oakland A’s (2001)
We know from watching Moneyball, this was the season we saw in the beginning of the film. Jason Giambi carried the 2001 Oakland A’s – winning the MVP in the process – but Oakland was lacking some protection in their lineup. So Billy Beane went out and got Dye, losing absolutely no one of value in the process. Jermaine Dye went on to have the slash-line of .297/.366/.547/.913 for the A’s before they lost to the Yankees in the ALDS.
9. Jose Contreras to the Chicago White Sox (2004)
This deal meant very little in 2004, but paid huge dividends later. The Sox shipped the 2003 fluke that was Esteban Loaiza for Jose Contreras, hoping it would work as one of those change of scenery type deals. Loaiza was beyond worthless for the Yankees, going 1-2 with an ERA over eight, while Jose Contreras initially struggled for the White Sox. But in 2005, Contreras led the White Sox pitching staff all the way to their first World Championship since 1917, making this trade live in infamy.
8. Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves (2007)
The trade that will haunt Brave fans until Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia retire from the game of baseball. This is the classic hindsight is 20/20 deal. Although the Braves gave up a lot, Teixeira had an OPS over a 1.000 for Atlanta that season. Ironically, the Braves traded Teixeira to the Angels in a deadline deal the following year. After the season, the Angels let him walk, receiving a draft pick in the process. That draft pick was none other than Mike Trout.
7. Matt Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals (2009)
Matt Holliday is one of the most underrated players in the game of baseball. For years, many claimed Holliday was only a product of Coors Field. But when the all-star was acquired from the A’s for some prospects that have never panned out in 2009, the Cardinals got their new face of the franchise without even realizing it. Holliday went on to have an OPS over 1.000 for the Cardinals and re-signed with them later that winter. His OPS+ since re-signing with the Redbirds: 149, 150, 151. Beast.
6. Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies (2009)
Another deal that helped shape the 2009 season was Cliff Lee heading to the Phillies. Lee wasn’t anything special for the Phillies in the regular season – he went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA – but he was a horse in the postseason. Lee went 4-0 that postseason, but the Phillies lost to the Yankees 4-2 in the World Series, with Lee earning the only two wins the Phillies had.
5. Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers (2008)
Manny Ramirez hit .396/.489/.743/1.232 after he was traded to the Dodgers from the Boston Red Sox. Nothing else really needs to be said. The Dodgers swept the heavily favored Cubs in the NLDS with the help of Ramirez’s 1.743 OPS that series. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, they lost to Cole Hamels and the Phillies in the NLCS.
4. Aramis Ramirez to the Chicago Cubs (2003)
The fleece job that the Cubs pulled on the Pittsburgh Pirates is quite legendary, acquiring Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, and Randall Simon for the world’s most overhyped prospect Bobby Hill. All three men helped the Cubs reach the NLCS that season, before… well… you know. Aramis Ramirez went on to have a tremendous career with the Cubs, finishing with an .887 OPS before heading to Milwaukee.
3. CC Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers (2008)
As good as Randy Johnson was with the Astros in 1998, CC Sabathia matched it in 2008. Sabathia did whatever that was necessary to pitch the Brewers into the postseason, even pitching some days on three days rest. Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA for the Brew Crew before losing to the Phillies in the NLDS.
2. Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros (2004)
When the Astros acquired Carlos Beltran in 2004, they were hoping that his bat would put them over the top. Although they lost in Game 7 in the NLCS to the Cardinals, Beltran was not the problem. Beltran set a then record for home runs in a postseason with eight, driving home 14 runs and stealing six bases in the process. It’s safe to say Beltran’s 2004 postseason run was a little better than the one he had with the Mets. My knees just buckled typing that. To be fair, Beltran did have an OPS over 1.000 in the 2006 NLCS, but whatever.
1. Curt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks (2000)
Another deadline deal that paid off some that season, but meant a lot more later on. Curt Schilling was acquired in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2001 when he really mattered. Along with Randy Johnson, Schilling anchored the Diamondbacks’ rotation all the way to a world championship. Schilling went 58-28 with the Diamondbacks before bleeding in his sock.
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