Baseball's 1993 season, with a potential strike looming, was an interesting year. And the trade deadline produced deals involving some of baseball's biggest names.
- On June 24, the Marlins traded Andres Berumen, Jose Martinez and a young reliever named Trevor Hoffman to the Padres for Rich Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield. Sheffield was just 24, and the Marlins quickly realized that he was more at home in the outfield than at third base. Sheffield managed an OPS+ of 162 over his next four seasons, before being purged by the Marlins, who traded him in the 1998 Mike Piazza deal, then turned around and traded Piazza to the Mets for prospects. And Hoffman? 16 seasons in San Diego, 552 saves and an ERA+ of 146.
- Less than a month later, the Atlanta Braves added a signature piece to their roster, trading Vince Moore, Donnie Elliott and Melvin Nieves to the Padres for Fred McGriff. The Braves got immediate payoff from the deal. McGriff, who had posted a .275/.361/.497 line in San Diego, went on a .310/.392/.612 tear with Atlanta. He hit 130 home runs over five seasons with the Braves. This is a classic trade deadline pickup.
- Still more activity came from the Padres, who, it must be noted, finished just 61-101 in 1993. On July 26, San Diego traded Greg Harris and Bruce Hurst to the Colorado Rockies for Brad Ausmus, Doug Bochtler and a player to be named later. Harris reached his sell-by date the day he was traded, going from a 3.67 ERA with San Diego to a 1-8, 6.50 ERA finish in Colorado. Hurst pitched 8.2 innings of 5.19 ERA ball before going down due to injury. And worst of all? The player to be named later sent to San Diego turned out to be… Andy Ashby, who pitched eight seasons of 113 ERA+ baseball for the Padres. Not a good day one mile above sea level.
- Under the radar a bit was a three-team deal that must be mentioned. The Royals got John Habyan. The Yankees got Paul Assenmacher, saving the clubhouse manager a ton of time by not having uniform names on their players' backs. And the Cubs got outfielder Tuffy Rhodes. While Habyan and Assenmacher continued to do what they tended to do for everyone else- put up decent ERAs out of the bullpen- Rhodes was a revelation, hitting .288/.413/.538 in 63 plate appearances. Then, on Opening Day 1994, he hit three home runs against the Mets! Surely, stardom would follow. Instead, he hit .234/.318/.387, and was playing in Japan by 1996. He starred there, of course, with seven seasons of 40 or more home runs, including a high of 55.
- The final bit of trade deadline drama came with the best leadoff hitter of all time. The Oakland Athletics sent Rickey Henderson to the Toronto Blue Jays for elite pitching prospect Steve Karsay and outfield prospect Jose Herrera. Amazingly, Henderson was a total bust for Toronto. He hit .215/.356/.319 after the trade, .327/.469/.553 before the trade. But Karsay could never stay healthy for long, and Herrera didn't do much in two big league seasons.