Trade Retrospective: Curt Schilling to the Red Sox


On November 28, 2003, the Red Sox acquired SP Curt Schilling from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Jorge de la Rosa, Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, and minor leaguer Michael Goss.

The Background

The Red Sox were in need of a starting pitcher after one of 2003’s main starting pitchers, John Burkett, retired. While Burkett was not an amazing starting pitcher for the Red Sox, he still was a useful innings eater (181 innings in 2003), and the Red Sox were clearly going to need to replace the numbers.

The Diamondbacks were coming off of an 84-78 season, but had finished in 3rd place in the NL West and were 16 games back. Schilling would be a free agent after the 2004 season, and the Diamondbacks were hoping to cut their payroll for the following season.

The Moving Pieces

In Boston, Schilling agreed to a contract extension prior to approving the trade, and he was slotted into an already high end rotation led by Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe.

Arizona received 4 reasonable players, with both Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon both having spent time with the Red Sox in each of the previous 3 seasons. Here’s what Jim Callis of Baseball America had to say about some of the prospects back in 2004:

Q: Kevin from Springfield, MA asks:
Where would some of the prospects that got traded have ranked, Sanchez, Dumatrait, Pelland, De La Rosa and Goss?
A: Jim Callis: Another good question from Kevin, who got many in early. Freddy Sanchez would be No. 2, ahead of Shoppach. Jorge de la Rosa would be right behind Shoppach, so that would make him No. 4 if Sanchez was in the mix. Phil Dumatrait would be in my mix of three lefties toward the end of the top 10, and I’d probably slot him in behind Alvarez, which would make him No. 10. Tyler Pelland would be in the 11-15 mix, while Mike Goss wouldn’t have made the Top 30.

What Happened Next

Schilling was ecstatic to be going to pitch with the Red Sox.

“I want to be a part of bringing the first World Series in modern history to Boston,” Schilling said. “And hopefully more than one over the next four years.”

And clearly, the goal was accomplished with the Red Sox winning their first world championship in 86 years in 2004.

In Arizona, Casey Fossum was slotted into the Diamondbacks rotation and Brandon Lyon was sent to the bullpen, eventually closing out games for the Diamondbacks in 2004. Jorge de la Rosa was only a Diamondback for less than a week, as he was sent to the Brewers in a trade that netted the Diamondbacks power hitting 1B Richie Sexson. Michael Goss was sent to Single-A South Bend in the Midwest League

The Net Moves

Red Sox – First Level

  • Curt Schilling went 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 2004, helping to lead the Red Sox to the 2004 World Championship. He was with the team through 2007, posting a 53-29 record with a 3.95 ERA, and helped to lead the Red Sox to 2 World Championships in that time. He retired after the 2007 season.

Diamondbacks – First Level

  • Casey Fossum went 4-15 in 2004 with the Diamondbacks, and was unceremoniously traded to the Devil Rays in early February 2005 for Jose Cruz Jr.
  • Brandon Lyon spent the 2004-2008 seasons with the Diamondbacks, working entirely the bullpen. He posted an 11-15 record with 42 saves and a 4.03 ERA in 234 appearances. He left via free agency after the 2008 season, and the Diamondbacks received a compensation draft pick for losing him to the Tigers. The Diamondbacks used this pick to select Michael Belfiore.
  • Jorge de la Rosa was traded on December 1st, 2003 as a part of the Richie Sexson trade. The trade acquired Richie Sexson and Shane Nance from the Brewers.
  • Michael Goss never spent a day in the Majors, spending the 2004 season with the Diamondbacks before ending up in Independent ball for the next 4 seasons.

Diamondbacks – Second Level

  • Jose Cruz Jr. spent 64 games with the Diamondbacks, hitting .213 with 12 homeruns before being traded to the Red Sox on 7/30/2005 for minor leaguers Kenny Perez and Kyle Bono.
  • Michael Belfiore is currently with the Diamondbacks.
  • Richie Sexson spent the 2004 season with the Diamondbacks, but spent most of the season hurt. He played in only 23 games, hitting .233 with 9 homeruns in his brief time there. He left via free agency after the 2004 season, but earned the Diamondbacks two compensation draft picks. They used these picks on Matthew Torra and Micah Owings.
  • Shane Nance made 19 appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2004, posting a 1-1 record with a 5.84 ERA. He was released by the Diamondbacks during the 2005 season, and never appeared in another Major League game.

Diamondbacks – Third Level

  • Kenny Perez spent the rest of the 2005 season and all of the 2006 season with the Diamondbacks in the minors, but did not make any appearances with them or any other organization in the Majors.
  • Kyle Bono spent the remainder of the 2005 season and the 2006 season with the Diamondbacks, and also did not make any Major League appearances.
  • Matthew Torra is still with the Diamondbacks organization to this day, but has never progressed past AAA, where he currently is. He may not get a good shot at this point, as he is now 26 years old.
  • Micah Owings was with the Diamondbacks through part of the 2008 season. He posted a 14-17 record with the team as a starting pitcher, but was known more for his hitting skills. He hit .313 with 5 homeruns in 112 at bats over the two seasons he was with Arizona. He was included in the trade that netted the Diamondbacks Adam Dunn in August 2008.
  • Adam Dunn spent the remainder of the 2008 season with the Diamondbacks, hitting 8 homeruns down the stretch for them. I also there being a lot of surprise as the Diamondbacks did not offer him arbitration, which made them ineligible to get draft pick compensation.

Overall Reactions

Clearly, the Red Sox got exactly what they were hoping for and more. Schilling helped to anchor the rotation both in 2004 and in 2007, including the “Bloody Sock”. He helped them to get the first 2 World Championships in nearly 90 years, and the image of the “losers in Boston” has been extinguished forever. The Diamondbacks had a lot of potential from the moves that they made surrounding this trade, but unfortunately it was almost like the players that came back were cursed of their own accord. Fossum wasn’t really a high quality starting pitcher at any point, but was particularly bad in Arizona. Lyon was probably the best return they got out of anyone in these trades, as he was a valuable bullpen piece for 4 seasons. I think I would have to give the Red Sox the advantage on this one, as flags fly forever.

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One response to “Trade Retrospective: Curt Schilling to the Red Sox

  1. Hi Jason, Bill Miller here from The On Deck Circle. I just checked out your blog, and I like what I see. Nice idea for an on-going topic. Have you covered the Seaver to the Reds for a bag of magic beans yet? Not a good one.
    I enjoy your blog, and will add it to my blog roll.
    Talk to you again soon. Bill (ondeckcircle.wordpress.com)

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