It was a grand time for the game of baseball. Plenty of critics, in the wake of the 1994 strike, declared baseball dead. Such declarations now stand in the Hall of Wrong, right between those who said that Mark Twain was dead (the first time) and Graydon Carter's claiming the death of irony.
Things were all turned around on the buyers and sellers front, too. The biggest seller? The New York Mets. Big buyers ranged from Cincinnati to Seattle. Indeed, money can't buy everything. So without further ado, on to the precious trade memories…
- For the low price of Frankie Rodriguez (not to be confused with K-Rod, of course) and a minor leaguer, the Red Sox acquired Rick Aguilera from the Twins on July 6. Aguilera was effective with the Red Sox, pitching to a 2.67 ERA and saving 20 games.
- A day later, the Orioles responded, trading Kimera Bartee and Scott Klingenbeck to the Twins for Scott Erickson. The pitcher was no longer in ace form, but Erickson won nine games and pitched to a 3.89 ERA with Baltimore.
- In the category of you win some, you lose some, the Phillies had a pair of roster moves that were noteworthy. On July 10th, the team released Norm Charlton. Mistake! Charlton went to Seattle, and managed a 1.51 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 47.2 dominant innings. However, on July 13th, the Phillies picked up Sid Fernandez, who had been released by the Orioles. El Sid had something left in the tank, to put it mildly, and he pitched to a 3.34 ERA in 11 starts, with 79 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings.
- The most ambitious trade of this deadline came on July 21 in an eight-player deal. Cincinnati traded Dave McCarty, Ricky Pickett, John Roper, Deion Sanders and Scott Service to San Francisco in exchange for Dave Burba, Darren Lewis and Mark Portugal. The trade worked out quite well for Cincinnati, with both Burba and Portugal pitching to ERAs under 4.00 while in the starting rotation. Lewis played his customary terrific defense, though his .588 OPS didn't overwhelm. But getting two frontline starting pitchers for a meager haul is a pretty sweet deal in any year.
- Finally, how did the Mets-as-sellers do? Well, Bobby Bonilla, during his best season at age-32, went to Baltimore on July 28 in exchange for Damon Buford and Alex Ochoa, two outfielders who were never able to crack a starting lineup consistently. Three days later, the Mets sent Bret Saberhagen to Colorado for Juan Acevedo and Arnold Gooch. Neither pitcher had much success; Gooch failed to reach the major leagues and Saberhagen pitched to just a 6.28 ERA in 1995, then missed all of 1996 due to injury. In other words: nobody in this trade managed to have nearly the career of a Dave Burba.