April Trading

So far this month, a couple of minor trades have occurred: the Phillies acquired Francisco Rosario, while the Mariners got Jason Ellison.  I thought it would be interesting to look back a couple of years to see just how common April trades are.

April 2006

  • 4/1: Rangers traded David Dellucci to Phillies for Robinson Tejeda.  Given the Tejeda is now an important piece of the Rangers’ rotation, this deal is notable.  Jon Daniels doesn’t have a great trading history but he did OK here.
  • 4/7: Indians traded Brandon Phillips to the Reds for a PTBNL or cash.  One of Wayne Krivsky’s best moves.
  • 4/28: Devil Rays acquired Tyler Walker from the Giants for Carlos Hines.  Walker’s never been particularly good, but he did have a stint as the Rays’ closer last year before succumbing to elbow surgery.

April 2005

  • 4/9: Rockies acquired reliever Jose Acevedo from the Reds for prospect Allan Simpson.  Acevedo was awful for the Rox, but he did pitch 64 innings in ’05.

That’s all we had in ’05.  Needless to say teams were not wheeling and dealing in April.

April 2004

  • 4/3: Cards acquired Roger Cedeno from the Mets for Chris Widger and Wilson Delgado.  Cedeno got into 95 games with the Cards that year as an extra outfielder.
  • 4/3: Mariners acquired infielder Jolbert Cabrera from the Dodgers for prospects.  Cabrera got 359 ABs as the Ms’ utility man in ’04 and hit .270/.312/.384.  He and Scott Spiezio were probably a big reason they signed Adrian Beltre.
  • 4/3: Rangers acquired pitcher Chris Young from the Expos for Einar Diaz, Justin Echols, and cash.  You can give John Hart props for that one.
  • 4/3: Dodgers acquired Antonio Perez from the Devil Rays for outfielder Jason Romano.  Perez didn’t play for L.A. until 2005 but certainly had his uses.
  • 4/3: Padres acquired reliever Blaine Neal for reliever Ben Howard.  You may not have heard of these guys, but both tossed 35+ innings out of their teams’ pens in 2004.  Neal was better.
  • 4/4: Dodgers acquired Milton Bradley from the Indians for Franklin Gutierrez and a PTBNL.  Bradley had a decent year (and his healthiest) as the Dodgers’ CF.  Gutierrez is still trying to master Triple A but he’s had a few cups of coffee.
  • 4/8: Rockies acquired starter Zach McClellan and infielder Chris Fallon for reliever Justin Huisman.  Huisman pitched 25 awful innings for the Royals that year, and hasn’t surfaced in the Majors since.  Meanwhile, McClellan was converted to relief and recently joined the Rockies’ big league pen.
  • 4/13: Twins acquired Terry Mulholland from the Mariners for cash considerations.  Mulholland, always one of my favorites, pitched 123 not-so-great innings as the Twins’ swingman that year.
  • 4/17: Astros acquired Chad Harville from the A’s for Kirk Saarloos.  Both players are still relevant and mildly useful, with Harville landing in Tampa Bay this season and Saarloos joining the Reds. 
  • 4/25: Indians acquired reliever Rick White from the Dodgers for outfielder Trey Dyson.  White is not particularly good but continues to find work.  Might be his fluke 3.72 ERA for the Bucs in ’05.
  • 4/25: Indians acquired Russell Branyan from the Braves for a PTBNL.  It was to be Branyan’s second stint with the Tribe, but he never played for the big club.  He later helped the Brewers that year and in ’05, racking up all kinds of walks, home runs, and strikeouts.

It appears that GMs have seriously changed their April philosophy over only a few years.  The decline in April trading seems more than random fluctuation.  Teams were more willing to tinker and send prospects around in ’04; now they’re more cautious and try to fill holes internally first.

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