Discussion: The Ideal Trade

Every year we see countless trades involving every kind of player, from established big leaguers to promising prospects to minor league roster filler. Most of the time, one team ends up getting the better end of the deal, whether or not that's apparent at the time of the trade is a different story all together.  

Moshe Mandel at TYU posed an interesting question today: does a GM want to see the prospects he's traded away succeed? Are the Phillies rooted for Kyle Drabek or against him? What about the Yankees and Austin Jackson, or the Red Sox and Nick Hagadone? Furthermore, what about the big leaguers traded away? Does a GM want to see those players do well?

I believe that the best trades are those that benefit both teams, because they've not improved your ball club but also your reputation with other clubs as well, which can help with future deals. Some might not agree, and think that the best deals involve improving their team while hurting another. 

What about you? What does your ideal trade look like; is it a win-win, or something else? Is it wrong to want to see someone you've traded away fail? 

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39 Responses to Discussion: The Ideal Trade Leave a Reply

  1. You will never find a Cubs fan who is sad that the Bobby Hill for Aramis Ramirez trade didn’t pan out for Bobby. Ideal trade? Dump junk, get gold. See Milton Bradley for reference.

    • Triteon 5 years ago

      How did that benefit Hill?

      • He’d be the junk in question.

        • Triteon 5 years ago

          My fault, I mis-read what you wrote. Glad you think that way, because the rest of the league has more schlock they’re willing to send to the North Siders.

  2. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    id have to say that the josh beckett for hanley ramirez trade was a pretty damn good one. the red sox got an ace that carried them into the post season and the marlins got a future face of franchise calibur player. win-win

    • corey72774 5 years ago

      plus the red sox got the mvp of the ,’07 world series as a salary dump

  3. ivdown 5 years ago

    If I really like who we give away in the trade, I will hope that both sides work out. That’s how I felt about the Manny to LA trade (I really liked Laroche). But say for the Bradley for Ethier trade, the Dodgers won that hands down, and I’m very happy about that, even if the A’s got jipped.

  4. aap212 5 years ago

    Do you want prospects you trade away to be stars? Do you want your ex-girlfriend to be happy after you break up? Only after you’ve won a world series… Oh wait, mixing analogies here.

  5. LosDoyers 5 years ago

    It looks like Milton Bradley for Andre Ethier.

  6. It all depends. If my team, the Phillies, are in desperate need of an outfielder next year and Michael Taylor ends up hitting .300 for the A’s with 30 HRs and 10 steals but Roy Halladay does well and the Phillies win the East again, I’ll probably be Ok with that. If Halladay slows down and the Phillies don’t make the playoffs because there is less production in the outfield and Taylor would have been an obvious fit, yeah, then I’m going to be upset.

    Ultimately, I would like to see both sides work out, but with us getting the slightly better end of the deal.

  7. Triteon 5 years ago

    I think the nature of the trade has a lot to do with it, and if the teams involved accomplish their goals. This could mean dumping salary off, or picking up a couple prospects for a FA that you won’t be able to re-sign. The motivation behind a move is more important than the actual pieces.

    Milton Bradley has been a very good ballplayer when his head has been screwed on tightly. Other times, he’s been such a cancer that teams are willing to pay someone to take him.

    Some time ago the Cardinals traded a pitcher who had a career record of 70-55, had gone 30-17 over his last two seasons, and was a former 20-game winner; he was sent to the Cubs for a light-hitting outfielder. It worked out better for the Cards in the long run. Sometimes the best-looking trades go awry.

  8. dizzle4 5 years ago

    To me, the ideal trade, which he really see, is when teams trade established players for each other to fill team needs and trade surpluses. For the most part, you know what you’re getting and what you’re giving, so there’s really no need to root for or against the development of a prospect. It doesn’t happen often, and I can’t really think of an example other than teams trading problems (ie. Rolen for Glaus), but just as a hypothetical, it would be something like the Rockies trading Brad Hawpe, an outfielder in their surplus, to an AL team needing a DH, like the Red Sox, for a closer like Jonathan Papelbon, where they have excess in the bullpen. Not saying that’s exactly fair value, but with established players, something along those lines is what I’d call an ideal trade.

  9. TwinsVet 5 years ago


    “Are the Phillies rooted for Kyle Drabek or against him?” (should be “rooting”)
    “because they’ve not improved your ball club but also your reputation with other clubs as well” (should be “not only improved” : “also your” and “as well” in the same clause is a redundancy)

  10. If you’re talking about trading prospects, wouldn’t you kind of want whomever you traded to succeed? It would kind of validate your drafting him in the first place…

  11. bannister19 5 years ago

    I think in the end it’s not a negative game like the media and people like to put it. Every move GM’s make think it’s going to help their team and the other teams needs.

    As for wanting prospects to succeed, it depends on the issue. If you have a top prospect Like AJax, you wish him luck but like they’re in the same league, you would hope he doesn’t carry the opposing team above you.

    But often not everything is released to the public, and the front office has different views of players. A major league player would be like Jason Bay. The Red Sox were supposedly terrified about his knee, and not that they wish him bad, but if he ends up playing four or five very good, healthy, and successful years, it makes the GMs look bad, and that’s never good.

    The same with prospects, i.e. for the Royals somebody like Dan Cortes, who looked promising but the front office didn’t like him too much, and since being with the Mariners, he’s been VERY bad. Nobody is against him personally, but if he turns into an ace, it makes everyone look bad (especially considering the result, Yuniesky).

    Also, I remember a recent story, I can’t think of the team/player right now, but the GM went on the record saying somebody he traded is producing (or lacking production) at a [low] level they expected him to, though he was regarded high in public.

    I’ve heard Dayton say it before, and I’m sure other GM’s have too, it’s not about “winning” a trade, but just meeting your needs that make the club better.

  12. dwhit110 5 years ago

    Here’s the thing, if your prospect turns into a star, it means you drafted well, so potentially that’s something a GM can use to build his credibility.

  13. jgmaynard 5 years ago

    I think that if the team personally likes the player being traded, they have to hope for him to do well on a personal level. However, that doesn’t mean that you want them to do well when they are playing you. :O) The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.
    I think the best trades are the ones where both sides win, like the Hanley/Beckett-Lowell trade. You have to give value to get value, and if team A gets the short end of the bat when they trade with team B too often, team B is going to lose a trading partner.

  14. mattinglyfan 5 years ago

    From how I look at it as a fantasy GM, I don’t mind if the player I traded does well, but I sure as heck want my new player to outperform the player I sent away. The thing is, with most trades done it takes years until we can see how that trade panned out, and by that time it will be forgotten because another new trade will happen.

  15. I see a good one as the CC trade. Cleveland got a few good prospects, Brewers got CC and the playoffs, not to mention the draft picks.

  16. mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

    I wish I could remember the exact quote, but in a trade for Mark DeRosa with the Cubs for 3 minor league relief pitchers, Cleveland Indians GM Mark Shapiro said that he hoped that at least two of three would work out for the Cubs; ideally, he hoped all of them worked out, but if two out three worked out, he felt the Cubs would get a good return.

    Shapiro has to make trades to keep that franchise afloat. For him, and the organizations sake, he can’t be perceived as just passing trash. He’s got to give value to get value.

    Whew! That was a long way around saying that I think the best way to trade is to strive for win-win type of trades.

  17. ratmoss 5 years ago

    I think on a personal level you want the guy to succeed. Think about some of the Dominican prospects for example. A lot of times, the scouting director, player development guys, or even the GM has known the kid since he was 13-14 years old and watched him grow into a young adult. Baseball is a business, but baseball is also a family.

  18. Nicolas_C 5 years ago

    This is a common flaw in human thought.

    Humans are so accustomed to winning that they desire it even if it isn’t the best result. As a White Sox fan, I at first wanted Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, and the others to struggle for their careers, as we traded them in the Peavy deal. But then I realized that that doesn’t do any good. Whether the White Sox won the trade is completely irrelevant. Once the deal is made, it’s either good or it’s not, and that’s reflected by the output the players provide. You can’t change whether or not it’s a good deal. The most positive thing that can come out of a trade is getting value from the players traded for, and also the thing mentioned in this post about proving to be a good trade partner by giving the other teams players that go on to succeed. The success of the deal is irrefutable, but human nature wants success, so they root directly against what’s best for the team.

  19. rockiesfan_303 5 years ago

    Depends on the player and the circumstance. I feel like the Rockies GM, for example, hopes that Matt Holliday does well in the rest of his career. Both sides knew the contract was going to be too much for the Rockies to afford, and the Rockies made a trade that landed them Huston Street, Carlos Gonzalez(future all star) and Greg Smith, while Holliday ended up getting his payday. Both sides win.
    As for Austin Jackson, the only way they regret dealing him is if Granderson is a complete disaster. GMs understand they are giving up value in trades, and it might even reflect better on the GM for getting something back for that value.

  20. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Definitely want to see your guys do well IF they are prospects that you traded away. If they are established players then I wouldn’t mind seeing them flop once they are moved.

    That said, if you consistently come out on the winning side of things I doubt you will get trade partners lined up, ready to do business with you. Ask Beane … bet he would tell you that it was easier to get a deal going before Money Ball than it has been after. All deals with Beane after the book came out were being heavily scrutinized. GM’s didn’t want to be the guy that got taken by BB.

  21. jwredsox 5 years ago

    my ideal trade: Scott Schoeneweis for Albert Pujols

  22. ze3 5 years ago

    (Angels bias) What about Roy Oswalt (Astros) for Terry Evans, Bobby Wilson, and Anthony Ortega (Angels). The Angels could benefit from starting pitching, the Astros could benefit behind the plate, they get a regular OF, and a prospect pitcher.

    • cookmeister 5 years ago

      im an angels fan too, but theres almost no way this deal happens

  23. ianmike1226 5 years ago

    I think a similar trade to the aforementioned H.Ramirez, J.Beckett swap would be considered a win/win. Take for example the three team trade Centered around C.Granderson, A.Jackson, E.Jackson, and M.Scherzer if Granderson pans out for the Yankees, and A.Jackson continues to be an above average producer it would be a win/win. Sort of a high upside prospect for a proven big leager. But, it all depends on if the propect pans out into a producing big leaguer or not.

  24. ilikebaseball 5 years ago

    I agree with all those who point to the Hanley-Beckett/Lowell trade, but that one has to sting sometimes…Hanley is just so. damn. good.

    • ELPinchy 5 years ago

      People aren’t looking at the whole deal.

      was Hanley,Annibal Sanchez and Jesus Delgado for Beckett,Lowell and Guillermo Motta.

      No one ever talks about the pieces of that trade other than hanley beckett and lowell.

      Annibal threw a no-hitter, Motta never pitched for the sox if i recal and was 1/3 of another deal that got the redsox crisp,bard and riske, and I’ve no idea what became of jesus delgado.

  25. My favorite type of deals are ones that you rarely see…

    Prospect for prospect filling both teams needs.

  26. Trious 5 years ago

    If a GM is successful, I am sure they do as it shows them that they can draft. If a GM is struggling with his job, there is not a chance in hell they want them succeeding as it will be used against them when deciding whether their job should be kept or not.

  27. slr5607 5 years ago

    I guess it depends on where the players are going. If the lets say a team like the Dodgers or the Giants were to trade “top prospects” to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez…I would think that the team sending the prospects would hope that they never panned out.

    Now, if it is a trade out of your division, or even further, out of the League, then you want things to work out. Look at what happened with Billy Beane and how people stopped trading with him. He got too many lop-sided deals, now people shy away from major deals with the A’s.

  28. tripleplay83 5 years ago

    After last night’s 2-hitter, how about Jamie Moyer for Andy Barb and Andrew Baldwin…

    Or the classic Phillies move, Abreu for Kevin Stocker

  29. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    i hate that troll on the forums named trueblue. drives me insane.

  30. bannister19 5 years ago

    Any big forum will take a LONG time to develop. If a forum can get busy and popular in under a year, you’re in a multi million dollar market.

  31. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    i still post on the forum. i just wish their was an ignore function on that forum.

  32. bannister19 5 years ago

    Every once in a while. Not often.
    But from what I see, i don’t go on Ebaums often, however, that forum has been up for coming up on 7 years.

    e: actually, eight.

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