Category Archives: Trade Retrospectives

Trade Retrospective: Marlins Firesale Edition Part 4


For the final month of the season, I’ll be posting a slightly different set of trade retrospectives. In 1997, the Marlins, under owner Wayne Huizenga, won the whole thing, taking the World Series in 7 games in a walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. The team had assembled quite a collection of talented players, with Edgar Renteria, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield anchoring the lineup and Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, and Robb Nen anchoring the pitching staff. However, the team was for sale, and had been prior to the championship. From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on the morning after the victory:

The Marlins are in danger of being dismantled. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga put the club up for sale last summer and — even though the Marlins reached the World Series — figures to decrease the payroll this winter.

Well, it didn’t take all that long, and the pieces started falling pretty quickly. These posts will not be just surrounding 1 trade, but rather the whole of the work related to this firesale. You can find Part 1 of the series here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here. This part covers the trades made during the 1998 season.

The Trades

May 14, 1998 – The Marlins acquire C Mike Piazza and 3B Todd Zeile from the Dodgers for OF Gary Sheffield, C Charles Johnson, OF Jim Eisenreigh, OF Bobby Bonilla, and P Manuel Barrios
May 22, 1998 – The marlins acquire P Geoff Goetz, OF Preston Wilson, and P Ed Yarnall from the Mets for C Mike Piazza

The Moving Pieces

In Los Angeles, Sheffield, Johnson, and Bonilla were all slotted into the starting lineup, with Eisenreich providing a bat off the bench.

In New York, Piazza became the middle of the order bat and catcher that the team desperately needed.

In Florida, Todd Zeile was slotted in as the starting 3B, Preston Wilson was sent to AAA Charlotte, and Ed Yarnall was sent to AA.

What Happened Next

In Los Angeles, Sheffield led the team’s offense with a .316 batting average and 16 homeruns in just 90 games that season. Johnson finished the season in LA with a .217 batting average and 12 homeruns. Eisenreich provided a good bat off of the bench, and Bonilla would play in 72 games for the Dodgers, hitting just .237 with 7 home runs down the stretch.

In New York, Piazza helped the team with his production, hitting .348/.417/.607 in 109 games with 23 home runs and 76 runs batted in.

In Florida, Zeile went on to play in 66 games for the Marlins before being traded to the Ranger prior to the trade deadline. He hit .291 with 6 homeruns for the Fish.

The Net Moves

NY Mets – First Level

  • Mike Piazza spent the next 8 seasons in Flushing, and made 6 All Star teams. He won 4 Silver Slugger awards, and hit 220 homeruns with a .296 batting average. He left via free agency after the 2005 season, and the Mets received no compensation for him.

Florida – First Level

  • Ed Yarnall was included in the trade to the Yankees that acquired Mike Lowell for the Marlins. He spent just 1/2 a season with the Marlins in the minors, posting a 2-0 record in 2 starts with a 2.93 ERA.
  • Todd Zeile played in just the 66 games with the Marlins before being traded to the Rangers for two minor leaguers, Daniel DeYoung and Jose Santo.
  • Geoff Goetz was in the Marlins’ organization from 1998 to 2002, never reaching a level higher than AA. He has since bounced around, and played in the independent leagues in 2006 before retiring.
  • Preston Wilson was with the Marlins for 4 seasons, posting a .262/.333/.473 line with 104 homeruns and 329 runs batted in. He was traded on November 16, 2002 along with Charles Johnson, Vic Darensbourg, and Pablo Ozuna to the Rockies for P Mike Hampton and OF Juan Pierre.

Dodgers – First Level

  • Manuel Barrios made 1 appearance with the big club in 1998, his last season in the Majors. He was out of the organization after that year.
  • Gary Sheffield would spend the 1998 season and the next 3 with the Dodgers, making 2 All Star teams and hitting .312 with 129 homeruns and 367 runs batted in. He was traded by the Dodgers on January 15, 2002 to the Braves in exchange for OF Brian Jordan, P Andrew Brown, and P Odalis Perez.
  • Charles Johnson would spend only the remainder of the 1998 season in LA before being traded to the Orioles via the Mets. The Dodgers received C Todd Hundley and minor leaguer Arnold Gooch in return.
  • Jim Eisenreich would play in 75 games as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement in 1998, and would retire at the end of the season.
  • Bobby Bonilla played only the 1998 season in the city of Angels, and was traded to the Mets after the season for P Mel Rojas.

Florida – Second Level

Dodgers – Second Level

  • Brian Jordan spent 2 seasons in L.A., hitting .289 with 24 home runs and 108 runs batted in. He left via free agency following the 2003 season and signed with the Rangers.
  • Andrew Brown spent 2 seasons in the Dodgers’ minor league system before being sent to the Indians to complete the trade which acquired Milton Bradley from the Indians.
  • Odalis Perez spent parts of 5 seasons pitching in the Dodgers’ rotation, posting a 45-40 record with a 3.94 ERA. He was traded to the Royals as a part of a package to acquire Elmer Dessens.
  • Todd Hundley spent the next 2 seasons playing part time for the Dodgers, posting a .284 batting average in 2000. He left via free agency after the 2000 season, and no compensation was received.
  • Arnold Gooch would not play in the Major leagues, and actually never pitched for the Dodgers’ organization either.
  • Mel Rojas would pitch only 5 innings for the Dodgers before being traded to the Tigers for a package of minor leaguers.

Florida – Third Level

  • Ricky Nolasco remains with the Marlins and has posted a 54-36 record with a 4.45 ERA in 716 innings.
  • Sergio Mitre spent 2 seasons with the Marlins and posted a 6-13 record in 34 starts. He was released by the Marlins after the 2008 season, which he had missed with an arm injury.
  • Reynel Pinto is currently in the Marlins organization, and has jumped between AAA and the Majors for most of his seasons. He has a 8-10 record with a 3.62 ERA in 231 innings pitched.

Overall Reactions

The Marlins were clearly trying to dump as much payroll as possible, as they gave up a lot of players to get the All-Star catcher Piazza in return. But the part that really seemed strange even then was that they team flipped him after playing just 5 games for the Fish. The winners of this trade clearly have to be the Mets and the Dodgers, if for no other reason than the Marlins didn’t really get a lot of production out of any of the players they received except for Juan Pierre and Ricky Nolasco. Piazza became an even bigger star in New York, and the Dodgers would get a lot of production out of Gary Sheffield in his time there.

After looking back on the trades, it becomes pretty clear that the Marlins were essentially trying to gather as many players as they could for the players that they got rid of. They say there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect, and the bulk of these trades tend to bring that point home.  So many of the prospects that they acquired through these trades did not turn into Major Leaguers, and while they did get the pieces for the next championship run, overall these trades still look pretty bad for the Marlins in hindsight.

Trade Retrospective: Marlins Firesale Edition Part 3


For the final month of the season, I’ll be posting a slightly different set of trade retrospectives. In 1997, the Marlins, under owner Wayne Huizenga, won the whole thing, taking the World Series in 7 games in a walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. The team had assembled quite a collection of talented players, with Edgar Renteria, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield anchoring the lineup and Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, and Robb Nen anchoring the pitching staff. However, the team was for sale, and had been prior to the championship. From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on the morning after the victory:

The Marlins are in danger of being dismantled. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga put the club up for sale last summer and — even though the Marlins reached the World Series — figures to decrease the payroll this winter.

Well, it didn’t take all that long, and the pieces started falling pretty quickly. These posts will not be just surrounding 1 trade, but rather the whole of the work related to this firesale. You can find Part 1 of the series here, Part 2 here, and this part covers the trades made through the start of the season.

The Trades

February 6, 1998 – The Marlins acquire Robert Stratton, A.J. Burnett, and Jesus Sanchez from the Mets for P Al Leiter and 2B Ralph Millard.

The Moving Pieces

In New York, Al Leiter was slotted into the starting rotation, and Ralph Milliard was slotted in as the starting 2B for their AAA team.

In Florida, A.J. Burnett was sent to the Midwest League to work in the starting rotation. Jesus Sanchez was slotted into the starting rotation for the Major League team.

What Happened Next

In New York, Al Leiter went 17-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 193 innings pitched for the Mets. Ralph Milliard received a late-season call up for the Mets, and appeared in 10 games but only got 1 at bat in 1998.

In Florida, Burnett went 10-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched. Sanchez went 7-9 with a 4.47 ERA in 173 innings for the Marlins.

The Net Moves

NY Mets – First Level

  • Al Leiter spent 7 seasons in Flushing, posting a 95-67 record with a 3.42 ERA. He threw 1360 innings total, striking out 1106 batters and helping lead the Mets to two playoff appearances in his time there. He left via free agency after the 2004 season.
  • Ralph Milliard only played in 1998 in the Majors for the Mets, and was out of the organization in 1999.

Florida – First Level

  • Jesus Sanchez spent 4 seasons in Florida, mostly in the starting rotation. He posted a 23-34 record with a 5.06 ERA and 368 strikeouts in 494 innings pitched. He was traded on December 11, 2001 to the Cubs for Nate Teut.
  • A.J. Burnett spent 7 seasons in Florida entirely in the starting rotation. He posted a 49-50 record with a 3.73 ERA and 753 strikeouts in 853 2/3 innings pitched. He left via free agency on October 27, 2005, and signed with the Blue Jays. The Marlins received 2 compensation draft picks for this, which they used to draft Chris Coghlan and Torre Langley.
  • I honestly can’t find any information about Robert Stratton, as the Baseball Reference page links to a player who played in the early 1970s.

Florida – Second Level

  • Nate Teut only made 2 major league appearances with the Marlins (or any team for that matter). He was released by the Marlins on 4/15/03.
  • Torre Langley is currently in the minor leagues with the Phillies, after spending the previous 3 seasons in the Marlins minor league system.
  • Chris Coghlan has appeared in 219 games so far for the Marlins, hitting. 299/.367/.428 with 14 homeruns, 75 runs batted in, and 18 stolen bases. He also won the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year award.

Overall Reactions

The clear piece of most value to the Marlins was A.J. Burnett, which is still a lot more of a return than the players that they got in return for a lot of their other stars. Leiter became one of the more famous players for the Mets, and ended up being known for representing the Mets. Burnett gave them 7 seasons with a lot of inconsistency, but a lot of upside as well, and the draft picks he netted the team when he left definitely helped to bring in current talent in Chris Coghlan. This is one of the few trades that went well for the Marlins overall.

The last post in this series will be up next Saturday, and will cover the trades made through the 1998 season and part of the 1998-1999 off season.

Trade Retrospective – Firesale Edition: Marlins Part 2


For the final month of the season, I’ll be posting a slightly different set of trade retrospectives. In 1997, the Marlins, under owner Wayne Huizenga, won the whole thing, taking the World Series in 7 games in a walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. The team had assembled quite a collection of talented players, with Edgar Renteria, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield anchoring the lineup and Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, and Robb Nen anchoring the pitching staff. However, the team was for sale, and had been prior to the championship. From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on the morning after the victory:

The Marlins are in danger of being dismantled. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga put the club up for sale last summer and — even though the Marlins reached the World Series — figures to decrease the payroll this winter.

Well, it didn’t take all that long, and the pieces started falling pretty quickly. These posts will not be just surrounding 1 trade, but rather the whole of the work related to this firesale. You can find Part 1 of the series here, and this part covers the trades made through the start of Spring Training (approximately February 1st, 1998)

The Trades

December 15, 1997 – The Marlins acquired 1B Derrek Lee, P Rafael Medina and Steve Hoff from the Padres for SP Kevin Brown.
December 18, 1997 – The Marlins acquired Fletcher Bates and Scott Comer from the Mets for RP Dennis Cook
December 19, 1997 – The Marlins acquired P Eric Ludwick from the Athletics for IF Kurt Abbott

The Moving Pieces

In San Diego, Kevin Brown was slotted into the top of the starting rotation for the Padres.

In New York, Dennis Cook was moved into the back end of the bullpen for the Mets.

In Oakland, Kurt Abbott was slotted into a bench role for the Athletics.

In Florida, 1B Derrek Lee was immediately slotted in as the starting 1B for the Marlins. P Rafael Medina made the starting rotation out of Spring Training as well. Steve Hoff was sent to the Marlins High-A affiliate in Brevard County. OF Fletcher Bates was sent to AA Portland to start there.

What Happened Next

In San Diego, Kevin Brown immediately helped to stabilize the starting rotation of the Padres, and had another great season for the team.

In New York, Dennis Cook went 8-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 73 relief appearances for the Mets in 1998.

In Florida, Rafael Medina struggled in the rotation, going 2-6 in 12 starts with a 6.01 ERA, and split time between AAA and Miami in 1998. Steve Hoff was traded after posting a 5-8 record with High-A Brevard County. Derrek Lee was an average rookie 1B, hitting .233 with 17 homeruns for the Fish in 1998. P Scott Comer was sent to Single-A Kane County to be in their starting rotation. P Eric Ludwick was also slotted into the Major League rotation at the start of the 1998 season.

The Net Moves

San Diego – First Level

  • Kevin Brown helped lead the Padres to their most recent World Series appearance on the strength of an 18-7 campaign with a 2.38 ERA. He finished 3rd in the NL Cy Young award voting, and left via free agency after the 1998 season. The signing netted the Padres two compensation picks, which were used to select Vince Faison and Casey Burns. Neither player made the Majors.

NY Mets – First Level

  • Dennis Cook would spend the next 3 1/2 seasons in New York, posting a 25-13 record out of the bullpen with a 3.86 ERA. On July 27, 2001, he was traded with Turk Wendell to the Phillies in exchange for Bruce Chen and Adam Walker

Oakland – First Level

  • Kurt Abbott played in a whopping 35 games for the Athletics before being traded to the Rockies for a player to be named later. That player ended up being minor leaguer Ara Petrosian.

Florida – First Level

  • Rafael Medina spent 2 seasons in Florida, splitting time between AAA and the Majors. He posted a 3-7 record with a 5.96 ERA over 90 2/3 innings. He was claimed off of waivers by the Braves on December 6, 1999
  • Steve Hoff spent part of the 1998 season with the Marlins’ High-A affiliate, posting a 5-8 record in 15 starts with a 4.11 ERA. He was traded to the Cubs on July 31, 1998 along with Felix Heredia for Justin Speier, Kevin Orie, and Todd Noel.
  • Derrek Lee spent 6 seasons in Florida, posting a .264 batting average with 129 home runs. He was traded on November 25, 2003 to the Cubs for 1B Hee Seop Choi and Mike Nannini
  • Fletcher Bates never played in the Majors, spending 2 seasons in the Marlins organization (both at AA). His better season was 1998, when he hit .274 with 11 homeruns and 19 stolen bases.
  • Scott Comer never played in the Majors either, spending 3 seasons in the Marlins organization and reaching AA at his highest point. It appears he was out of organized baseball at the age of 23.
  • Eric Ludwick went 1-4 with a 7.44 ERA in 13 appearances for the Fish in 1998, and was drafted by the Tigers in the minor league portion of the rule 5 draft on 12/14/98.

NY Mets – Second Level

  • Bruce Chen spent parts of 2 seasons with the Mets, posting a 3-2 record with a 4.62 ERA in 12 games (11 starts). On April 5, 2002, he was traded with Luis Figueroa and Dicky Gonzalez to the Expos for Phil Seibel, Scott Strickland and Matt Watson.
  • Adam Walker never played in the Majors, and was with the Mets organization until his retirement in 2003. He only appeared in 13 games for the Mets’ minor league teams.

Florida – Second Level

  • Hee Seop Choi was widely considered to be a bust, playing in just 95 games for the Marlins before being traded to the Dodgers with Brad Penny and Bill Murphy for Juan Encarnacion, Paul LoDuca, and Guillermo Mota on 7/30/2004.
  • Mike Nannini spent 2004 with the Marlins AAA affiliate, posting a 9-10 record with a 5.29 ERA. He spent the following 4 seasons bouncing around the minors, never pitching in the Major leagues.
  • Justin Speier pitched in 18 forgettable games for the Marlins in the 1998 season, and was traded to the Braves on April 1, 1999 for Matthew Targac.
  • Kevin Orie appeared in 125 games over 2 seasons with the Marlins through 1999, hitting .258 with 12 homers. On November 12, 1999 he was sent to the Dodgers as a part of a conditional deal which appeared to return nothing.
  • Todd Noel went 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA in 1998, and was with the Yankees following the 1998 season. He never appeared in the Majors either.

Florida – Third Level

  • Paul LoDuca appeared in 182 games in parts of 2 seasons in that stint with the Marlins. He his .283 in 1999 with 6 homeruns and 57 runs batted in. On 12/5/2005, he was traded to the Mets for minor leaguers Gaby Hernandez and Dante Brinkley.
  • Guillermo Mota was included in the trade which sent Josh Beckett to the Red Sox.
  • Juan Encarnacion was in Florida through the end of the 2005 season, and hit .287 with 16 homeruns in 2005 for the team. After the season, he left via free agency, and it appears that the Marlins received no compensation.

Overall Reactions

There were some productive players that the team received, and definitely got some solid years out of 1B Derrek Lee, the prize of the trade that moved Kevin Brown. That said, almost without fail, the rest of the players they received were not particularly good for the Marlins. Paul LoDuca and Juan Encarnacion are the only ones who stand out as being remotely useful to the team, and Guillermo Mota‘s best use for the Marlins was including him to acquire Hanley Ramirez for the current team.

To me, the winners out of this group had to be the Padres, simply because Brown was the piece that helped to get them over the top in the National League and win the pennant in 1998. Unfortunately for them, they ran into the buzzsaw that was the 114 win New York Yankees.

The next post in this series will be up next Saturday, and will cover the rest of the trades made prior to the start of the 1998 season.

Trade Retrospective – Firesale Edition: Marlins


For the final month of the season, I’ll be posting a slightly different set of trade retrospectives. In 1997, the Marlins, under owner Wayne Huizenga, won the whole thing, taking the World Series in 7 games in a walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. The team had assembled quite a collection of talented players, with Edgar Renteria, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield anchoring the lineup and Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, and Robb Nen anchoring the pitching staff. However, the team was for sale, and had been prior to the championship. From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on the morning after the victory:

The Marlins are in danger of being dismantled. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga put the club up for sale last summer and — even though the Marlins reached the World Series — figures to decrease the payroll this winter.

Well, it didn’t take all that long, and the pieces started falling pretty quickly. These posts will not be just surrounding 1 trade, but rather the whole of the work related to this firesale. Part 1 will cover the trades made in November 1997

The Trades

November 11, 1997 – The Marlins acquired Mark Johnson, Manuel Barrios and Oscar Henriquez from the Astros for OF Moises Alou
November 18, 1997 – The Marlins sent Kurt Miller to the Cubs as a part of a conditional trade
November 18, 1997 – The Marlins acquired Jesus Martinez from the Diamondbacks for OF Devon White
November 18, 1997 – The Marlins acquired Mike Pageler, Mike Villano and Joe Fontenot from the Giants for CL Robb Nen

The Moving Pieces

In Houston, LF Moises Alou was slotted in to the middle of the lineup and starting in left field.

In Chicago, P Kurt Miller was sent to AAA Iowa, where he was slotted into the starting rotation for the team.

In Arizona, OF Devon White was slotted in to the starting CF role.

In San Francisco, CL Robb Nen was immediately placed into the closer’s role for the Giants.

In Florida, P Manuel Barrios was sent to AAA Charlotte to work as a reliever. Oscar Henriquez made the big club out of Spring Training in 1998 as a reliever. P Mark Johnson was sent to AA Portland in the Eastern League, where he worked in the starting rotation. P Mike Pageler was also sent to AA Portland, where he worked as a reliever out of the pen. P Mike Villano was sent to AAA Charlotte, where he was to work out of the starting rotation.

What Happened Next

In Houston, Moises Alou had what was probably the best season of his career. He hit .312/.399/.582 with 38 homeruns, 124 runs batted in and 11 stolen bases. He finished 3rd in the NL MVP voting that year, won his second career Silver Slugger award, and was named to the NL All Star team.

In Arizona, Devon White was slotted into the starting center field spot for the expansion Diamondbacks, and into the top of the order. He hit 22 homeruns and stole 22 bases while representing the Diamondbacks in the All-Star game in 1998.

In San Francisco, Robb Nen was an All-Star in his first season, posting 40 saves and striking out an excellent 11.2 batters per 9 innings.

In Iowa, Miller went 14-3 with a 3.81 ERA over 167.2 IP prior to getting a callup to the big club late in September.

In Miami, Oscar Henriquez started the season in the bullpen for the Marlins, but pitched extremely poorly. He posted an 8.55 ERA in 20 appearances before being sent back to AAA Charlotte. Joe Fontenot made 8 starts for the Marlins from May to July before being sent back to the minors for good. He went 0-7 with a 6.33 ERA in 42.2 IP.

In Charlotte (Marlins’ AAA affiliate), Manuel Barrios went 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA in 18 appearances (1 start) before being called up to the big club. Mike Villano went 3-5 with a 7.69 ERA in 13 appearances (10 starts) for Charlotte.

In Portland, Mark Johnson went 5-14 with a 3.62 ERA in 142.1 IP in 1998. He spent the whole season in Portland. Mike Pageler spent the 1998 season in the bullpen in Portland, posting a 5-5 record with a 4.62 ERA and 13 saves in 76 IP.

The Net Moves

Houston – First Level

  • Moises Alou was in Houston for 4 seasons, but missed the 1999 season due to injury. In 421 games, he hit .331/.403/.585 with 95 homeruns and 346 runs batted in. He was an All-Star twice (1998, 2001), and finished in the top 20 of MVP voting all 3 seasons he played. He left the Astros via free agency after the 2001 season, and was not offered arbitration and as such was not eligible for free agent compensation.

Chicago – First Level

  • Kurt Miller pitched for the Cubs organization through the 1999 season, when it appears that he retired following that season.

Arizona – First Level

  • Devon White played 1 season in Arizona, posting a .279/.335/.456 line with 22 homeruns, 85 runs batted in, and 22 stolen bases. He was an All-Star in his season in the desert, and left via free agency following the 1998 season. The Diamondbacks received 2 picks in the 1999 draft for the loss of the free agent, which they used to draft P Casey Daigle and P Jeremy Ward.

San Francisco – First Level

  • Robb Nen spent 5 seasons in the city by the Bay, making 3 All-Star teams and finishing as high as 4th in the Cy Young voting. He went 24-25 with a 2.43 ERA and 206 saves in 378.1 IP, and helped the team reach the World Series in 2002. He retired after the 2002 season due to injuries.

Florida – First Level

  • Manuel Barrios made 2 appearances with the Major League club, throwing 2 2/3 innings. He was included in a large trade to the Dodgers I will be reviewing in Part 3.
  • Oscar Henriquez finished out the 1998 season in the minors before being traded to the New York Mets for C Jorge Fabregas on 11/20/1998.
  • Mark Johnson only spent the 1998 season with the Marlins’ organization. On February 1st, 1999, he was traded with Todd Noel and Ed Yarnall to the Yankees for 3B Mike Lowell.
  • Jesus Martinez never pitched an inning for the Marlins’ organization, instead being included in a trade with the Reds later in Spring Training 1998.
  • Mike Pageler never made it to the show, spending 1998-2000 seasons with the Marlins in the minor leagues.
  • Mike Villano never made it to the show either, spending 1998 and part of 1999 with the Marlins before finishing the season with the Mets. It is unclear to me how he got there.
  • Joe Fontenot only got those 8 starts in the Majors, and was sent back to AAA for the remainder of 1998 and all of 1999. It appears he was out of baseball at that point, at the age of 22.

Florida – Second Level

  • Mike Lowell spent part of 1999 in the minors before becoming a fixture in the Marlins lineup midseason. He was with the team through the 2005 season, but not before making 3 All Star teams and winning a Silver Slugger award. He hit .272/.339/.462 with 143 HR and 578 RBI in his time there. He was a part of the Josh Beckett trade during the 2005 offseason.
  • Jorge Fabregas spent 82 games as the backup catcher for the Marlins, posting a .206 batting average with 3 homeruns. He was released by the Marlins on August 26, 1998.

Overall Reactions

Wow, these ones didn’t turn out good at all. With the exception of Mike Lowell, there were NO players that amounted to much of anything for the Marlins. There was saved money in salaries clearly, but it’s hard to believe that they were this unlucky with regard to picking out pitching prospects. Clearly it seems that they should have gotten lucky on at least one of them, but they clearly didn’t. Mike Lowell definitely was the pick of this bunch for the Fish.

For the other teams, the Diamondbacks got something they really needed in a veteran presence in the lineup. The Giants really stabilized the back end of their bullpen by bringing in Nen, and he was as solid as they come during his time there. Even the Astros did well to get Alou while he was on the upswing. For this first set of trades, the Marlins lost.

The next post in this series will be up next Saturday, and will cover the rest of the trades made prior to January 31st.

Trade Retrospective – Josh Beckett to the Red Sox


On November 24, 2005, the Red Sox acquired SP Josh Beckett, 3B Mike Lowell, and RP Guillermo Mota from the Marlins for P Jesus Delgado, P Harvey Garcia, SS Hanley Ramirez, and SP Anibal Sanchez.

The Background

Josh Beckett had his best season to the point prior to the trade in the 2005 season, going 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 178 2/3 innings pitched. However, he was entering his 5th full season, and would be eligible for free agency after the 2007 season. Mike Lowell, however, was the main reason for the potential trades being floated. The Marlins were desperately looking to slash payroll, and Lowell was due $9 million in 2006.

The Red Sox had won the AL Wild Card in 2005 with a 95-67 record, but were needing a solid pitcher to slot in behind Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. Current 3B Bill Mueller was also going to be a free agent, and the organization did not necessarily want to hand over the job to the young Kevin Youkilis.

The Moving Pieces

In Boston, Beckett slotted into the front end of their starting rotation, and Lowell as their starting 3B.

In Florida, Hanley Ramirez was installed as the starting shortstop, and Anibal Sanchez was sent to the Marlins AA affiliate.

What Happened Next

The return for the Red Sox in the 2006 was a bit of a mixed bag, as Beckett went 16-11 over 204 innings, but posted a 5.01 ERA. Lowell had a solid season, hitting 20 home runs, driving in 80 runs, and posting a .284 batting average. The team itself however, did not make that playoff push that they had grown accustomed to. They went 86-76, and finished 3rd behind the Blue Jays in the AL East.

The Marlins were extremely happy with the players they got in return, specifically Hanley Ramirez. He won the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year award behind a stellar season: .292, 17 HR, 59 RBI, 51 SB, and 119 runs scored. Anibal Sanchez came up and gave the team a shot in the arm as well, posting a 10-3 record with a 2.83 ERA in 17 starts.

The Net Moves

Red Sox – First Level

  • Josh Beckett remains with the team, signing a contract extension first through the 2010 season, and now through the 2014 season. He has been a bit up and down overall, posting a 69-37 record with a 4.29 ERA in 880 2/3 innings pitched. He has 804 strikeouts and 232 walks, and has represented the Red Sox twice in the All-Star game.
  • Mike Lowell is also still with the team, despite their best efforts to move him in the past 2 seasons. He has posted a .291/.347/.472 line with 79 HR and 368 RBI, and was an All-Star once.
  • Guillermo Mota spent approximately 1 month with the team, before being traded on 1/27/2006 to the Indians with Andy Marte and Kelly Shoppach for C Josh Bard, OF Coco Crisp, and P David Riske.

Marlins – First Level

  • Hanley Ramirez has developed into the NL’s best shortstop, and one of the top fantasy players overall. In 737 games, he has hit .313/.384/519 with 119 HR, 375 RBI and 190 steals. He has made 3 All-Star appearances, and has won 2 Silver Slugger Awards. In addition, the Marlins have signed him to contract extension through 2014.
  • Anibal Sanchez has seen some rough patches, mostly due to injuries and inconsistency, but still pitches for the Marlins. He has a 28-25 record with a 3.62 ERA in 430 1/3 innings pitched. He’s struck out 323 and walked 190.
  • Jesus Delgado pitched 2 innings in the Majors with the Marlins, and was selected off waivers by the Mariners on 3/15/2009. He appears to be out of organized baseball at this point.
  • Harvey Garcia threw a few more innings (12 1/3), but was released by the Marlins on 3/16/2009. Must have been roster clearing time that week.

Red Sox – Second Level

  • Josh Bard appeared in 7 games for the Sox, and was used primarily as the personal catcher for knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield. It became clear very quickly however that he was not well suited for the task, and was traded by the end of April to the Padres with P Cla Meredith for C Doug Mirabelli.
  • Coco Crisp was with the Red Sox through the 2008 season. He hit .271/.330/.390 with 21 homeruns and 70 stolen bases during his time there, but was traded when it became clear that prospect Jacoby Ellsbury was ready to man center field. Crisp was traded to the Royals for RP Ramon Ramirez on November 19, 2008
  • David Riske made 8 appearances with the Red Sox in 2006 before being traded to the White Sox for P Javier Lopez.

Red Sox – Third Level

  • Doug Mirabelli became the personal catcher for Tim Wakefield again, and spent both the 2006 and 2007 seasons in that role before retiring.
  • Ramon Ramirez spent the 2009 and part of the 2010 seasons with the Sox, posting a 7-7 record with a 3.46 ERA out of the bullpen. He was traded on July 31, 2010 to the Giants for minor leaguer Daniel Turpen.
  • Javier Lopez was in the Red Sox bullpen from 2006-2009, and posted a 5-3 record with a 3.30 ERA, primarily as a LOOGY reliever. He left the Red Sox as a free agent after the 2009 season.

Overall Reactions

I think that this is another one of those trades that worked out well for both teams. The Red Sox, led by the performances of Beckett and Lowell, won their 2nd World Series in 4 seasons in 2007. Whether or not they come to regret the extension that they gave to Josh Beckett recently in the same way that they regret the one that they gave to Lowell remains to be seen, but as I’ve said before, flags fly forever. They also got some decent production out of Crisp while he was in Boston, and got a solid reliever in return for him.

The winner, if I had to pick one, would have to be the Marlins though. Ramirez has become a perennial MVP-caliber player, who routinely is at the top of the batting average charts as well as the stolen base leader boards. They were able to sign him to a team-friendly contract extension through 2014, and Ramirez remains the franchise player for a team that was in desperate need of one when the team traded 1B Miguel Cabrera and P Dontrelle Willis. I am not sure he will be able to stay at shortstop once that contract expires, as his fielding is less than amazing at a high-defense position. But time will tell on that one, and in the mean time the Marlins are enjoying every bit of production he provides.

Trade Retrospective – Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks


On December 14th, 2007, the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired SP Dan Haren and RP Connor Robertson from the Oakland Athletics for pitchers Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, and Greg Smith, 1B Chris Carter, and outfielders Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.

The Background

Dan Haren had been in Oakland since the start of the 2005 season, and had established himself as one of the top pitchers in the American League. Following the 2005 season, he had signed a contract extension which would keep him under team control at very reasonable prices through the 2010 season (it would have covered the 5 seasons at a total cost of $19.15 million overall). Haren was also being asked to fill the role of the staff ace, with Barry Zito having departed via free agency after the 2006 season. Haren had his best season with the Athletics in 2007, going 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA in 222.2 innings pitched, and a 138 ERA+. However, the team did not perform well, going 76-86 and finishing 3rd in the division despite going to the ALCS in the 2006 season.

The Diamondbacks had finished in first place in 2007, with a 90-72 record. However, they had been swept in the NLCS by the Rockies, and it appeared that they could use another starting pitcher behind 2006 Cy Young winner Brandon Webb. They did have, however, an extremely deep farm system available to them to go out and acquire what they would need to help in the 2008 season.

The Moving Pieces

In Phoenix, Haren slotted into the starting rotation between 2 former Cy Young award winners in Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson. Connor Robertson was sent to AAA Tucson, to be used mainly out of the bullpen.

In Oakland, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland both slotted into the back end of the starting rotation for the Athletics. OF Carlos Gonzalez was sent to AAA Sacramento to play every day. OF Aaron Cunningham was sent to AA Midland, and 1B Chris Carter and P Brett Anderson were both sent to High-A Stockton.

What Happened Next

The Diamondbacks were fairly happy with the performance of Haren, who went 16-8 with a 3.33 ERA and topped the 200 strikeout threshold for the first time in his career. Robertson made some spot appearances with the big club, but was essentially a non-factor on the team’s performance in 2008. Unfortunately, the team regressed a fair amount, and went 82-80 to finish 2nd in the NL West that season.

The Athletics were in full rebuilding mode, but did get some useful performances out of Dana Eveland and Greg Smith in 2008, who provided a lot of innings. Carter finished the season as one of the California League’s top hitters, clubbing 39 homers and driving in 104 runs in only 137 games. Carlos Gonzalez (BA’s #22 overall in 2008) hit fairly well in AAA, posting a .283 batting average and getting a midseason callup to the big club. Unfortunately, his performance in the Majors left a lot to be desired, hitting .242 with 4 homers and 4 steals in 89 games. Brett Anderson (BA’s #36 overall in 2008) posted an 11-5 record between High-A and AA, striking out 118 in just 105 innings. Aaron Cunningham hit .329 between AA and AAA, and also added 17 homers, 66 runs batted in, and 15 steals to those totals. He got into 22 games with the Athletics in 2008, hitting .250 with 1 homerun.

The Net Moves

Diamondbacks – First Level

  • Dan Haren made 2 All-Star appearances with the Diamondbacks, and posted a 37-26 record with a 3.56 ERA. He threw 586 1/3 innings over 3 seasons, and struck out 570 to just 107 walks. He was traded on July 25th of this season to the Angels for Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez, Patrick Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs.
  • Connor Robertson went 0-1 with a 5.14 ERA in just 7 Major League innings for the D’backs. On December 12th, 2008, he was traded to the Mets for Scott Schoeneweis.

Athletics – First Level

  • Carlos Gonzalez appeared in 85 games at the Major league level for the Athletics in 2008, posting an underwhelming .242/.273/.361 line with 4 HR, 26 RBI, and 4 SB. He, along with Greg Smith and closer Huston Street, were traded to the Colorado Rockies on November 10th, 2008 for OF Matt Holliday.
  • Greg Smith went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA in 190 1/3 innings pitched in 2008, but had a rather pedestrian 111 strikeouts compared to 87 walks. He was a part of the trade mentioned above.
  • Aaron Cunningham appeared in 45 games with the Athletics, posting a .211/.271/.338 line with 2 HR, 20 RBI, and 2 SB. He was traded on January 16, 2010 to the Padres along with Scott Hairston in exchange for 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff and minor league 2B Eric Sogard.
  • Dana Eveland went 11-13 with a 4.92 ERA in parts of 2 seasons. He threw a total of 212 innings, and had 140 strikeouts compared to 103 walks. He was traded to the Blue Jays on February 7, 2010, but no player was received in return.
  • Brett Anderson made his debut with the Athletics in 2009, and has posted a 14-14 record with a 3.79 ERA so far. He’s thrown 225 innings and has a very solid 184 strikeouts to 52 walks. He also recently signed a contract extension as well.
  • Chris Carter recently made his Major league debut, and was up for a cup of coffee so far. He was recently sent back to AAA, but is likely to be up for good by the end of the season.

Diamondbacks – Second Level

  • Scott Schoeneweis went 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA in just 24 innings pitched in 2009. Sadly, he was dealing with the death of his wife Gabrielle, who died in May of that season. He was a free agent after the season.

Athletics – Second Level

  • Matt Holliday played in 93 games for the Athletics, posting a .286/.378/.454 line with 11 HR, 54 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. The team fell out of contention, and he was traded on July 24, 2009 to the Cardinals for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortenson and Shane Peterson.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff has played in 111 games, and hit .259/.2984/.390 with 10 homeruns and 55 runs batted in.
  • Eric Sogard has been the starting 2B for the Rivercats, and is more of a glove than a hitter. He’s hit an empty .296 with 2 homers and 13 stolen bases so far.

Athletics – Third Level

  • Shane Peterson has spent time at AA, hitting .263/351/.361 with 5 homers, 50 rbi and 9 steals.
  • Clayton Mortenson has had some success at AAA, but not a lot at the Majors yet. His line with Oakland is 2-4 with a 7.22 ERA in 33 2/3 innings pitched.
  • Brett Wallace finished the 2009 season with the Rivercats, and was traded to the Blue Jays as a part of the group of trades involving Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. The Athletics acquired OF Michael Taylor in the trade.

Athletics – Fourth Level

  • Michael Taylor has spent the 2010 season at AAA Sacramento, hitting a disappointing .264/.342/.387 with 5 homeruns, 64 RBI and 12 steals. It was thought he would be called up before the end of the season, but I’m not sure that will happen this year.

Overall Reactions

I was extremely annoyed at the time of the trade, because I thought that the A’s were giving up an up and coming ace starting pitcher, and while they got a lot of good prospects back for him, they were still just prospects. As the 2008 season progressed and we saw the pieces that played at the Major League level (Smith, Eveland, and Carlos Gonzalez) all play to average levels, it just sounded that much worse for the Athletics. Over time, I think this one has become a bit more evenly matched to both teams. The Diamondbacks got 3 very solid seasons from their acquisition, and while they ended up trading him this season, there is some hope for the players that they received in return.

To me, the Athletics are going to end up winning this one, as the players they got back are going to help to lead them to their next good run. Brett Anderson has become a bona fide top of the rotation starter, and would be for a lot of teams in the Majors. Chris Carter needs to show more at the Majors before he can be really viewed as a great part of the trade, at least in my opinion. The one downfall of this trade was the move that they made to try to compete in 2009, which sent Carlos Gonzalez to the Rockies for what ended up being 93 games of Matt Holliday. Gonzalez has really exploded onto the scene this year in Colorado, while Holliday went nuts after being traded to St. Louis and drove in nearly a run per game. Michael Taylor has some upside to be sure, but the luster has kind of fallen off of his top prospect status.

Overall, I think that this trade is going to end up beneficial to both teams, and it really gives the A’s an definitive advantage as the winner of last week’s trade retrospective, with Mark Mulder going to the Cardinals.

Trade Retrospective – Mark Mulder to the Cardinals


On December 18th, 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired SP Mark Mulder from the Oakland Athletics for P Dan Haren, P Kiko Calero, and C/1B Daric Barton.

The Background

From my writeup on the Hudson trade, which occurred only 2 days before this trade: The Athletics were coming off another good season, which unfortunately ended without a berth in the postseason despite being tied for the AL West division lead with 3 games to go and the other team in the lead, the Angels, coming in for the last 3 games. The Angels took the first 2 games, and clinched the division. With a 91-71 record, the team was now forced to start looking at the hard fact that one of their aces, Tim Hudson, would be eligible for free agency after the 2005 season, and the team was highly unlikely to be able to afford the ace.

Moving Hudson had not been an entirely huge surprise, but the idea that they would move Mulder, who was 2 years from free agency still, seemed unlikely at best.

The Cardinals had just been to the World Series in 2004, but were swept by the Red Sox despite winning 105 games and having 4 starting pitchers with 15 or more victories during the season. The team really appeared to be in need of someone to take the ball in Game 1, and again in Game 7 if necessary.

The Moving Pieces

In St. Louis, Mulder was put into the top of the rotation along with an already excellent group which included Chris Carpenter, Matt Morris, and Jeff Suppan.

In Oakland, Haren was called upon to replace Mulder in the starting rotation, with Calero slotting into the back end of the bullpen. Barton, only 19 years old, was sent to High A Stockton to start the 2005 season.

What Happened Next

The Cardinals were extremely happy with the results that they got from Mulder in 2005, as he posted a 16-8 record with a 3.64 ERA. The team itself returned to the playoffs after winning 100 games and the NL Central crown, but were eliminated from the playoffs in the NLCS by the Houston Astros.

The Athletics were in a semi-rebuilding mode, going 88-74 in 2005 and finishing 2nd to the Angels again. Dan Haren was a key cog in this machine, as he went 14-12 with a 3.73 ERA. Kiko Calero provided a lot of value in the bullpen as well, making 58 appearances and posting a 3.23 ERA over 55 2/3 innings pitched. Barton continued to hit extremely well, posting a .317 batting average with 13 homeruns and 89 runs batted in between High-A and AA.

The Net Moves

Cardinals – First Level

  • Mark Mulder spent parts of 5 seasons with the Cardinals before retiring due to injuries. Unfortunately, the 2005 season was his last good season, and finished his time in St. Louis with a 22-18 record, a 5.04 ERA, and 166 strikeouts to 114 walks in 319 innings pitched. He last pitched in a major league game in 2008.

Athletics – First Level

  • Daric Barton is currently with the Athletics, having made his debut in 2007. In 318 games, he has hit .259/.360/.395 with 21 homeruns and 117 runs batted in. He is currently the starting 1B for the Athletics.
  • Kiko Calero spent from 2005-2008 with the A’s, and posted some solid relief innings for the team. He went 8-8 with 4 saves, a 3.96 ERA, and 147 strikeouts in 159 innings pitched. He was released on June 27, 2008.
  • Dan Haren was clearly the top prize of this trade, and spent 2005-2007 with the team. He made 1 All-Star team, starting the game in 2007 in San Francisco. During his 3 seasons, he went 43-34 with a 3.64 ERA, 531 strikeouts and 153 walks in 662 2/3 innings pitched. After the 2007 season, Haren was traded to the Diamondbacks along with P Connor Robertson for P Brett Anderson, Greg Smith and Dana Eveland, OF Carlos Gonzalez and Aaron Cunningham, and 1B Chris Carter. This particular trade will be discussed in a future trade retrospective.

Overall Reactions

This one pretty much instantaneously became a winner for the Athletics, as Haren and Calero both turned into valuable members of the teams they were on. Even if Mulder had stayed healthy, the fact that Haren was able to be traded later on for so many key players so soon after acquiring him makes this one a clear victory for the Athletics. The fact that Mulder almost immediately became injury prone just further elevated the victory by the Athletics on this one. Looking at this trade, all 6 of the players that the Athletics received for Dan Haren have either played with the team, or were used to acquire other pieces who are currently with the team. For Cardinals fans, this clearly becomes a case of what might have been. Mulder had been very good prior to the onset of his injuries, and was well on his way to become one of the game’s great starting pitchers. It is unfortunate that he was not able to continue to play, but that is also a part of the game as well.

Trade Retrospective – Tim Hudson to the Braves


On December 16th, 2004, the Atlanta Braves acquired starting pitcher Tim Hudson from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for outfielder Charles Thomas and pitchers Juan Cruz and Dan Meyer.

The Background

The Athletics were coming off another good season, which unfortunately ended without a berth in the postseason despite being tied for the AL West division lead with 3 games to go and the other team in the lead, the Angels, coming in for the last 3 games. The Angels took the first 2 games, and clinched the division. With a 91-71 record, the team was now forced to start looking at the hard fact that one of their aces, Tim Hudson, would be eligible for free agency after the 2005 season, and the team was highly unlikely to be able to afford the ace. From AthleticsNation.Com’s Tyler Blezinski, from before the trade:

So, I’m on record saying that Tim Hudson will not be wearing an A’s uniform in 2005.  It’ll be tragic to lose Huddy, but if Billy gets young, cheap talent in return which vastly improves our offense and a starting pitcher, it improves the long-term outlook for the green and gold (since it sounds like the A’s cannot afford to keep Hudson after the next season).  Beane may back out at the last second because trading a talent like Hudson can come back to haunt you, but I don’t think so.  Billy is going to do what’s right for the long-term health of the franchise.  And with the budget restrictions Oakland has, spending the majority of your payroll on three players (Chavez, Kendall and possibly Hudson) doesn’t make much sense.

The Braves finished the 2004 season with a 96-66 record and a division title (I know, huge surprise at that point, right?) The team lacked a true top flight starting pitcher, and would lose 2 different free agents out of their starting rotation after the season. Clearly, they were in need for a high-caliber starting pitcher.

The Moving Pieces

In Atlanta, Tim Hudson was slotted into the #2 spot in the rotation behind the return to the rotation of John Smoltz. Hudson signed a contract extension not long after being traded, at least in part due to his growing up nearby.

In Oakland, Juan Cruz was slotted into the bullpen in Oakland. Charles Thomas was kept in Oakland as well, but was a bit of a role player/4th outfielder at the start. In Sacramento (the A’s AAA affiliate), Dan Meyer, BA’s #43 prospect coming into the 2005 season, was slotted into the starting rotation.

What Happened Next

The Braves got everything that they could have hoped for out of Hudson in his first season in Atlanta: 14-9, 3.52 ERA and 192 innings pitched. He helped to stabilize the rotation for the Braves, who won another division title in the NL East. In his one postseason start that season, Hudson gave up 5 earned runs over 6 2/3 innings, taking the loss against the Astros and Andy Pettitte.

The Athletics were in a semi-rebuilding mode, going 88-74 in 2005 and finishing 2nd to the Angels again. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that close, and the players they received in the trade really had no impact at all on the performance on the field. Juan Cruz was completely ineffective, posting an 0-3 record with a 7.44 ERA in 32 2/3 innings pitched in 2005. Thomas played in only 30 games in the Majors that season, posting a brutal .109/.255/.109 line with 1 RBI. Meyer spent the entire season in AAA, posting a 2-8 record with a 5.36 ERA in only 89 innings. Injuries derailed his season as well.

The Net Moves

Braves – First Level

  • Tim Hudson has posted a 68-44 record with a 3.55 ERA in his time in Atlanta. Currently with the organization, he has thrown 967 2/3 innings pitched, struck out 580 and posted a 1.285 WHIP.

Athletics – First Level

  • Juan Cruz only spent the 2005 season with the Athletics, posting the awful line listed above. He was traded to the Diamondbacks on 3/26/2006 for P Brad Halsey.
  • Dan Meyer made another appearance in the Majors with the Athletics in 2007 and 2008, but was unimpressive. He posted an 0-6 record with a 7.98 ERA in 44 innings pitched over 17 appearances (7 starts). He was selected off of waivers on 11/3/2008 by the Marlins.
  • Charles Thomas only spent 2005 in the Majors with the Athletics, but was with the organization in the minors until 2007, when he was traded to the Brewers for C J.D. Closser

Athletics – Second Level

  • Brad Halsey was with the big club for 2006, posting a 5-4 record with a 4.67 ERA in 94 1/3 innings pitched. He posted a poor strikeout-to-walk rate with 53 K and 46 BB, and spent 2007 in the minors with the Athletics. It appears that he was not tendered a contract after the 2007 season, and is out of organized baseball.
  • J.D. Closser did not play in the majors for the Athletics, and left (although I’m not sure how exactly) after the 2007 season

Overall Reactions

They can’t all be winners for Billy Bean, now can they? Cruz has become a very good reliever, evening earning Type A status before his last contract. It just didn’t happen in Oakland. It’s hard to say whether or not Thomas fizzled because he wasn’t given a fair shot or because he wasn’t good enough. His success in the minors really appears to have been entirely in the 2004 season, where he hit .358 in AAA Richmond, but with little power or speed. The key piece in this trade was Dan Meyer. From Baseball America’s Bill Ballew, in a chat shortly after the trade:

Q: Mike from Manassas VA asks:
Where would Dan Meyer rank on the Braves list?
A: Bill Ballew: top five, with serious consideration for the top 3

Clearly, he was pretty highly thought of, but just didn’t pan out the way that it was hoped would happen. Sometimes this happens with prospects unfortunately. This one is a definite win for the Braves, both now and then unfortunately. Amazingly, it didn’t really impact the Athletics as poorly as you would think given that they moved a top starting pitcher in Hudson. As I’ll look at next week, it wasn’t the only one that got moved that offseason.

Trade Retrospective – Johan Santana to the Mets


On February 2nd, 2008, the Minnesota Twins finally decided on an offer for Cy Young winner Johan Santana, and sent the ace to the New York Mets for OF Carlos Gomez and pitchers Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber , and Kevin Mulvey.

The Background

The Twins were entering the 2008 season knowing full well that their top starting pitcher, Johan Santana, would be eligible for free agency after the season, and was extremely unlikely to sign with the team again. It was practically common knowledge by the end of the previous season that the Twins would be listening to offers for Santana, and looking back at some of them, are probably wishing that they had taken other ones instead. From an ESPN.COM article prior to the trade:

The Twins have continued to ask for Ellsbury, so the Red Sox have flipped Ellsbury back into their offer, sources say, while removing Lester, and upgraded slightly the rest of their proposed package slightly — perhaps to include right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson. Presumably, any offer with Ellsbury would not include Crisp.

As time progressed, many of the other offers began to back off from teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, and the Twins were practically left with only the Mets as an option.

The Mets were once again looking for an ace starting pitcher, as Pedro Martinez had aged quite faster than even they had anticipated. If they were to be competitive in the NL East, they would need a top-of-the-rotation starter to help lead them.

The Moving Pieces

In Minnesota, the Twins slotted Carlos Gomez into the starting CF role and gave him the tough job of having to fill the shoes of the team’s favorite player, Torii Hunter, who had signed with the Angels in the offseason. Kevin Mulvey and Philip Humber were both sent to AAA Rochester to be in their starting rotation, and Deolis Guerra was sent to the Twins’ High-A affiliate in Fort Myers.

In New York, the Mets put Johan Santana at the head of their starting rotation, and immediately signed him to a 6 year, $137.5 million contract extension.

What Happened Next

The Twins actually performed very well without their former ace, finishing with an 88-75 record and losing to the White Sox in the play-in game for the AL Central division title. Nick Blackburn started the 163rd game against the White Sox, and actually pitched extremely well, throwing 6 1/3 innings and only allowing a 7th inning homerun to Jim Thome.

The Mets were very happy with the performance of their new starting pitcher, as he went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA. Unfortunately, the Mets fell just short of their goals for the season, as they went 89-73, finishing 3 games back of NL East winner (and eventual World Series Champ) Philadelphia Phillies, and 1 game back of the Wild Card winning Milwaukee Brewers.

The Net Moves

Twins – First Level

  • Carlos Gomez actually only spent 2 seasons with the Twins, and was a bit of a disappointment. He hit .248/.293/.352 with 10 HR, 87 RBI, and 47 SB in his time there. He was traded after the 2009 season to the Brewers for SS J.J. Hardy.
  • Philip Humber never really panned out as a prospect for the Twins. He posted a 6.10 ERA in 13 appearances with the Twins over 2 seasons, and became a free agent after the 2009 season. He signed with the Royals, and was not eligible for any compensation.
  • Kevin Mulvey did not make his major league debut until 2009 with the Twins, making just 2 appearances totalling 1 1/3 innings and 4 earned runs (ERA of 27.00). He was sent to the Diamondbacks to complete the trade which brought Jon Rauch to the Twin Cities.
  • Deolis Guerra remains with the organization, and is still very young (just 21 at this point). He has split the 2010 season between AA and AAA, but has not really had any success at either level so far, posting a 2-10 record this season with a 5.66 ERA and a 72/38 strikeout to walk rate in 111 innings.

Mets – First Level

  • Johan Santana has been a very good pitcher for the Mets, but has had his moments of lessened quality. Overall, he has posted a 37-22 record with a 2.90 ERA and 457 strikeouts in 555 2/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately, the Mets have not made the playoffs in either of the two completed seasons, and are extremely unlikely to do so this season either.

Twins – Second Level

  • J.J. Hardy has been the starting shortstop for the Twins in 2010, but has missed a lot of time due to injuries. In 62 games, he has hit 4 homeruns and driven in 21 runs while hitting .258.
  • Jon Rauch was called upon to be the closer at the start of 2010 for the Twins once it was clear that Joe Nathan would need TJ surgery. In his 1+ seasons with the Twins, Rauch has posted a 7-2 record, 21 saves, and a 2.62 ERA. Unfortunately for him, he had stretch of poor outings, which led the Twins to acquire Matt Capps at the trade deadline, and relegate Rauch to the 8th inning role.

Overall Reactions

It’s still a bit early to claim that this trade has definitely had a winner, but it looks like it’s going to be the Mets. Santana has been very good and exactly what they were hoping for, and none of the players that the Twins got in return have panned out the way that they had hoped. When you start looking at some of the other offers that were out there (Ellsbury from Boston, Hughes from the Yankees), hindsight really doesn’t look kindly upon the Twins. It still remains to be seen how this will turn out, as the Mets have to be judged on the entirety of the contract extension that they gave to Santana, as it was one of the ways that he would approve the trade to begin with.

Trade Retrospective – Nomar Garciaparra


On July 31, 2004, as a part of a massive 4 team trade, the following happened:

Chicago Cubs acquired SS Nomar Garciaparra and OF Matt Murton
Minnesota Twins acquired minor leaguer Justin Jones
Boston Red Sox acquired 1B Doug Mientkiewicz and SS Orlando Cabrera
Montreal Expos acquired SS Alex Gonzalez and minor leaguers Francis Beltran and Brendan Harris

The Background

The Red Sox had previously tried to move Garciaparra after nearly acquiring Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers, so it wasn’t really a huge surprise that he might get moved during the 2004 season. He was due to be a free agent after the 2004 season, and the Sox were hoping to improve their team overall.

The Cubs were 56-48 at the trade deadline, and over 10 games out of first place. They were, however, in the wild card race, being only 2 games back of that at the time. They had been running the offensive (in a bad way) shortstop Ramon Martinez out there every day, and clearly were in need of an upgrade.

The Twins were looking to cut salary, and had a top prospect ready to take over the first base job in Justin Morneau.

The Expos appear to have been looking for some return on free agent to be Orlando Cabrera. There had been concerns about what would happen to the team following the season. From a CBC article then:

Montreal, which occupies the National League East basement, is rumoured to be on the move to several cities, including Washington, Northern Virginia, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Va., Portland, Ore., and Monterey, Mexico.

The Moving Pieces

In Boston, Nomaah was gone, but the Red Sox had found an able replacement in free agent to be Orlando Cabrera, and had a solid backup first baseman in Dougie Baseball. GM Theo Epstein had this to say about the trade at the time:

“We lost a great player in Nomar Garciaparra, but we’ve made our club more functional,” Epstein said. “We weren’t going to win a World Series with our defense.”

In Chicago, Nomaah had arrived with the hopes that the Cubs would be able to return to the playoffs for a second straight season, something that they had not done in a very long time. From GM Jim Hendry (via SI.com article):

“I think he will bring a ton to the table and a presence on the field and off,” Hendry said. “You never go to work thinking he’s going to be available.”

The Twins got the salary relief that they were looking for, and were able to plug in Morneau as the everyday first baseman. Strangely, the Twins were actually hosting the Red Sox on the day of the trade, and Mientkiewicz actually played against the Twins in that game. From Mientkiewicz (via SI.com article):

“It’s a little awkward right now, but I think it’s better for everyone,” he said. “The situation over there was a rough one. They gave me an opportunity in the big leagues, and what the Twins are all about is they give the young guys chances.”

The Expos were able to get 3 solid, if not amazing players or prospects in return for Cabrera.

What Happened Next

The Red Sox, helped by acquisitions Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz among many others, won the World Championship in 2004 without the services of Nomar Garciaparra. In Chicago, the Cubs ended up with an 89-73 record, good for only 3rd place in the NL Central and out of the playoff picture. The Twins

The Net Moves

Red Sox – First Level

  • Orlando Cabrera hit .294/.320/.465 with 6 homeruns for the Red Sox, and left via free agency after the season. He netted the Red Sox two compensation draft picks, which they used rather well: Jacoby Ellsbury was drafted with the first pick, and Jed Lowrie with the other.
  • Doug Mientkiewicz hit .215/.286/.318 with 1 homerun and caught the final out of the World Series. He was traded on 1/27/2005 to the Mets for minor leaguer Ian Bladergroen.

Twins – First Level

  • Justin Jones was a reasonable prospect for the Twins, in spite of only being 19 years old when he was acquired. He had been the #56 prospect according to Baseball America, and posted his best season with the Twins in 2005, going 7-3 with a 3.01 ERA at High-A. He was no longer with the organization after the 2006 season, spending 3 seasons with the Nationals. It appears he retired after the 2009 season.

Cubs -  First Level

  • Nomar Garciaparra hit .297/.364/.455 with 4 homeruns and 20 runs batted in for the Cubs in 2004, and resigned with the team as a free agent after the season for a 1 year contract. In 2005, he hit .283/.320/.452 with 9 homeruns and 30 runs batted in over 62 games due to injuries. He left via free agency, and no compensation was received for him.
  • Matt Murton spent from 2005 to 2008 with the Cubs, posting a .294/.362/.448 line with 28 homeruns and 104 runs batted in over 308 games. He was one of the players included in a trade that netted the Cubs pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin from the Athletics.

Expos/Nationals – First Level

  • Alex Gonzalez was only with the Expos for 35 games, posting a .241/.289/.383 line before being traded as a part of a conditional deal to the Padres. It doesn’t appear that any compensation or players was received for Gonzalez.
  • Francis Beltran made 11 appearances for the Expos in 2004, with a 7.53 ERA in 14 1/3 innings pitched. He missed the 2005 season due to injury, and spent the 2006 season in the minors for the Nationals. He left via free agency after the 2006 season.
  • Brendan Harris appeared in 41 games from 2004 to 2006 with the Expos/Nationals as a bench player. He was included in the trade that netted the Nationals OF Austin Kearns, IF Felipe Lopez, and P Ryan Wagner from the Reds.

Red Sox – Second Level

  • Jacoby Ellsbury is currently with the organization, but still recovering from broken ribs this season. To date, he has hit. 295/.347/.412 with 20 homeruns, 128 runs batted in, and 131 stolen bases in just over 3 seasons. He has lead the American League in steals twice, with 50 and 70 respectively.
  • Jed Lowrie is also with the Red Sox still, but has not had nearly the success that Ellsbury has. In 116 games over 3 seasons, he has hit .236/.316/.370, and is essentially viewed as a bench/role player for the Red Sox at this point. A change of scenery might be good for him, as there is no place on the field for him to play with SS Marco Scutaro and 2B Dustin Pedroia manning the middle infield spots long term.
  • Ian Bladergroen spent 2005 and 2006 with the Red Sox in the minors, but was in independent ball from then onward.

Cubs – Second Level

  • Rich Harden pitched well down the stretch of the 2008 season, going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 89 strikeouts over 71 innings. He was also with the Cubs in 2009, but injuries derailed parts of both seasons for him, as he went 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 141 innings. He left after the 2009 season via free agency, and signed with the Texas Rangers. No free agent compensation draft picks were received.
  • Chad Gaudin went 4-2 with a 6.26 ERA in 24 relief appearances for the Cubs down the stretch, and was not tendered a contract after the season.

Expos/Nationals – Second Level

  • Austin Kearns played for the Nationals through the 2009 season, and posted a .242/.346/.376 line with 34 homeruns and 159 runs batted in over 390 games. He was not tendered a contract after the 2009 season, and became a free agent.
  • Felipe Lopez was with the team through the trade deadline in 2008. He hit .250/.320/.344 with 49 steals in his 3 seasons there. He was released on July 31, 2008 by the Nationals.
  • Ryan Wagner was with the Nationals through the 2008 season, posting a 3-5 record with a 5.05 ERA in 40 appearances. He is currently out of organized baseball.

Overall Reactions

This is one of those trades that is extremely hard to dissect. Clearly, the Red Sox did well with these acquisitions as they were able to win the 2004 World Series. Throw in the fact that they used one of the draft picks they received for Cabrera to draft potential All-Star Jacoby Ellsbury also helps out a lot with them potentially winning the trade. The Cubs didn’t get quite what they needed, but did get solid production from Nomar when he was healthy, and also ended up netting them Rich Harden for 1 1/2 seasons by moving the other player in the deal, Matt Murton. The Twins, sadly, look like they did the worst in the trade, but accomplished what they wanted to in clearing a spot for prospect Justin Morneau.  Even the Expos did alright with this trade as they used one of the pieces in that trade to help facilitate the theft of Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez from the Reds. Overall, I would rank them in this order: Red Sox, Expos, Cubs, Twins. But I think that all the teams ended up accomplishing what their goals were for this trade.