Monday, December 07, 2009

Five Trades That Backfired, Badly

Hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20. Sure it is easy for us in the future to look back on the gaffes of others and criticize them mercilessly. So that is precisely what I intend to do. General Managers have the heavy responsibility of weighing the pros and cons of each and every potential player before and after a trade. Sometimes this works out well for them and they are lauded as geniuses, there are times, however, when they come off looking like know-nothing mouth breathers.

5. The early Boston Red Sox were notorious for making bad trades. In 1916, they traded away MVP Tris Speaker, who had seven straight seasons of hitting over .300 to the Cleveland Indians for Sam Jones (P), Fred Thomas (3B), and $55,000. Jones did go on to help the Sox win the 1918 World Series, but that was all he ever did for the franchise. Speaker, however, had 11 seasons with the Indians hitting over .300 in each season but one (.296 in 1919), as well as being an outstanding fielder. In his 22 year career, Speaker earned a batting average of .345, .428 OBP, and .500 SLG, and 3514 hits. Speaker joined the Hall of Fame in 1937, whereas Thomas (a .225 career hitter) and Jones have faded into obscurity.

4. In another, albeit much later Red Sox blunder, first baseman Jeff Bagwell was traded to Houston for aging pitcher Larry Andersen. The Sox never even let Bagwell play - he made his entrance into the major leagues as Rookie of the Year with the Astros. In 15 years with the franchise, Bagwell was a 4-time All Star, 1994 MVP, 1 Gold Glove, and 3 Silver Sluggers. Oh yeah, he also hit 449 home runs. Bagwell is considered by many to be worthy of the Hall of Fame. Andersen pitched 22 total innings for the Sox before signing with the Padres as a free agent.

3. In 1982, the Philadelphia Phillies sent Ryne Sandberg to the Chicago Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The Phillies had only let Sandberg play in 13 games before shipping him off to Chicago. In return for the future Hall of Famer, the Phillies got DeJesus for three years. In that time he batted .239, .254, and .257, and was an average shortstop. Sandberg on the other hand, became an All Star (the first of 10), earned an MVP, two of nine Golden Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award (the first of 7). Way to give the young chap a shot Philadelphia! Think of what could have been...

2. December 10, 1971, the great minds behind the Mets and the Angels gather together to arrange a suitable trade for six-time All Star Angels shortstop, Jim Fregosi. The Mets decide to part with Leroy Stanton (OF), Frank Estrada (C), Don Rose (P), and Nolan Ryan (P). The Mets plop Fregosi at third, and wonder why he is unable to perform. He also batted a less than average .232 in 1972, then left for Texas in 1973. Ryan had not shown his potential with the Mets (29-38), but with his debut in California, he became an instant All Star pitching 9 shut outs and a league leading 329 strike-outs.

1. You all saw it coming, and yes it still ranks as the worst trade in baseball history: for $425,000 the Boston Red Sox gave up George Herman 'Babe' Ruth. This act spawned the infamous curse, and the Babe's Hall of Fame career. In his six seasons with the Sox, the 24 year old Ruth hit only 49 home runs. In his first season with the Yankees, he hit 54 (of the 659 he would hit in his career with the Yankees). Ruth also helped the Yankees clinch 7 AL pennants and 4 World Series titles. He closed his stellar career with .346 ba, .474 opb, .690 slg, 2873 hits, 2217 rbi, and his record-setting 714 home runs.

Fabulous, with Diddy and Jagged Edge - Trade It All


GM-Carson said...

I remember that Jeff Bagwell trade...still can't believe it only took Larry Andersen to get him.

Back in the day when Dontrelle Willis was awesome, he was practically stolen from the Cubs by the Marlins, but he's since become a headcase.

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