I could’ve called this the 10 Worst Trades Of 2007 or the 10 Most Lopsided Trades Of 2007, but I prefer the glass half-full approach. It’s time to credit GMs for acquiring good players for essentially nothing, at least in terms of the 2007 season. The time period used here is October 1, 2006 to present, which reflects the 2007 baseball season in my mind. Also keep in mind that I am fully blessed with 20/20 hindsight here; I definitely missed on some of these at that time they occurred.
Without further ado, MLBTradeRumors.com presents the 10 Best Trades Of 2007.
10. 7/31/07: Brian Sabean and the Giants acquired OF Rajai Davis and a player to be named later from the Pirates in exchange for RHP Matt Morris.
Granted, Sabean was just erasing his own mistake of signing Morris in December of 2005. And he missed his chance to truly sell high when Morris had a 2.51 ERA on June 6th. Still, Sabean managed to unload the 33 year-old Morris without paying any of the $13.5MM or so remaining on his contract. Plus, he acquired 27 year-old burner Rajai Davis. If nothing else, Davis has a future in the big leagues as a reserve.
9. 11/15/06: Kevin Towers and the Padres acquired RHP Heath Bell and LHP Royce Ring from the New York Mets in exchange for OF Ben Johnson and RHP Jon Adkins.
By one metric, Bell has been the sixth best reliever in all of baseball this year. Don’t try to give all the credit to PETCO Park, either – Bell has a better ERA and strikeout rate on the road this year. Instead, give the credit to Towers. Meanwhile, Johnson’s season was killed by injuries and Adkins has been just OK at Triple A.
8. 11/20/06: Larry Beinfest and the Marlins acquired RHP Kevin Gregg from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for RHP Chris Resop.
Would Gregg be this good back in the American League? Of course not. But the Angels did ditch a reliever with a 3.4 K/BB ratio in 78 innings last year. Granted, Gregg has been lucky on hits allowed and saves are always a large part opportunity. But Resop hasn’t done much at Triple A and the Fish have a very affordable under-contract closer to shop this winter.
7. 5/3/07: Billy Beane and the Athletics acquired Jack Cust from the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Cust has a line of .257/.401/.510 in 343 ABs this year. Meanwhile Padres left fielders have hit .248/.343/.449 (league average) and Orioles DHs have hit .259/.325/.424. Both clubs gave up on Cust (though the A’s did before too). Bottom line: this was a whole lotta somethin’ for nothin’.
6. 7/31/2007: Jon Daniels and the Rangers acquired LHP Kason Gabbard, OF David Murphy and nonroster OF Engle Beltre from the Red Sox for RHP Eric Gagne and cash.
Gagne turned into a pumpkin, while the Rangers picked up two useful players (Gabbard and Murphy) and a young wild card with upside (Beltre). Murphy, a former first pick, could be the Rangers’ starting center fielder next year.
Note that while it was a fine deal by Daniels, the Mark Teixeira trade doesn’t make this list. In my opinion, it’s not as lopsided as the rest. Teixeira has been excellent for the Braves and they have him for 2008 as well.
5. 12/7/06: Kenny Williams and the White Sox acquired Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez from Philadelphia in exchange for RHP Freddy Garcia.
Should Pat Gillick take the blame for Garcia’s injury? He did know Garcia was throwing with reduced velocity last year and had a lot of wear and tear. Williams has taken a lot of heat this year but he might’ve acquired 40% of his rotation for the next few years with his perfect timing on this one. The book isn’t closed yet, but Williams deserves credit.
4. 12/7/06: John Schuerholz and the Braves acquired Rafael Soriano from the Mariners in exchange for LHP Horacio Ramirez.
The move was widely panned at the time, though I was the idiot saying it wasn’t a huge rip-off. Well, it was a huge rip-off. The awful Ramirez will be non-tendered, while Soriano might close for the Braves next year.
3. 12/6/06: Dayton Moore and the Royals acquired Brian Bannister in exchange for RHP Ambiorix Burgos from the New York Mets.
I certainly wasn’t criticizing Omar Minaya at the time of this trade. I saw Bannister as a fifth starter who’d be lucky to keep his ERA under 5.00 in the AL. And there is a strong undercurrent of luck in Bannister’s ROY-caliber season. But maybe Bannister’s intelligent approach (scroll to bottom of linked post) deserves some credit for the low BABIP and his 3.39 ERA. Perhaps Minaya and I just underestimated Bannister. Burgos had Tommy John surgery in August, so it’ll be a while before he gets a chance to even out this trade.
2. 12/12/06: Dan O’Dowd acquired CF Willy Taveras, RHPs Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh from the Houston Astros in exchange for RHPs Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio.
Even at the time of the deal, most folks thought Tim Purpura overpaid. It looks much worse now since Jennings was a bust instead of the #2 some thought he could be. The fact is that the difference between Hirsh and Jennings wasn’t huge in the first place, expect for salary and service time. Taveras could be Juan Pierre Plus if he can stay healthy.
1. 12/7/06: Wayne Krivsky and the Cincinnati Reds acquired OF Josh Hamilton from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash considerations.
Unbelievable, that so many of the best trades occurred around this date. Maybe that point in time inherently contains some sort of cosmic significance. Almost as if it were the junction point for the entire space-time continuum. On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence.
Anyway, I hope the Cubs received a ton of cash, because the 26 year-old Hamilton is a keeper. He’d look mighty fine in the Cubs’ outfield for the next five years. What’s Jim Hendry doing performing favors for a division rival? Hamilton mashed .292/.368/.554 as a rookie. Maybe only Krivsky saw that coming, but that’s why we’re giving him props here.
Honorable mentions: Mets acquire Luis Castillo, Padres acquire Kevin Kouzmanoff, Royals acquire Kyle Davies, Phils acquire Kyle Lohse and Tadahito Iguchi, Nats acquire Wily Mo Pena, Padres acquire Milton Bradley, Tigers acquire Gary Sheffield