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Trades of the Decade Rumors
When a 27-year-old lefty with a history of durability hits the trade market, teams are going to show interest. Mark Mulder had an 81-42 career record and was still two years away from free agency when A's GM Billy Beane made him available five winters ago.
After losing the World Series, Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty decided to pursue the Oakland lefty. In late December of 2004, Jocketty acquired Mulder for three prospects: Kiko Calero, Daric Barton and Dan Haren. Jocketty told ESPN that he'd acquired a "top of the rotation-type pitcher" and he appeared to have done just that.
In spite of Mulder's youth, durability and reputation for winning, there were warning signs. As Goldstein pointed out, the A's wondered about Mulder's health when he struggled down the stretch in 2004. And in spite of his lofty win totals, Mulder started walking more batters, allowing more homers and striking out fewer hitters per nine innings in his final season as a member of Oakland's "Big Three."
Haren, who was 24 at the time of the trade, dominated the minor leagues. He had a 3.15 ERA in the minors, striking out nearly a batter per inning and walking very few hitters (1.6BB/9).
We know what happened from here. After a solid 2005 season, Mulder's shoulder and rotator cuff sidelined him and he hasn't been productive since. The Cards got the rights to one decent year and one poor one, but the deal stands out because they gave up so much.
Calero had a couple productive seasons for the A's and the 24-year-old Barton showed some promise in limited time this season. Haren, the centerpiece of the deal, excelled for the A's during his three-year Bay Area stay. He logged over 200 innings each season and netted the A's Brett Anderson, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Carter, and others when they traded him to the D'Backs.
A huge win for the A's, but it's easy to see how the Cards were tempted by Mulder and why they were determined to bolster their rotation at all costs.
Remember when the Cardinals traded for Scott Rolen? Or when the Jays gave up Michael Young for Esteban Loaiza? You probably remember the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers.
Those three deals are just a few of the decade's most significant moves. Hundreds of trades later, the 2000s are just months from completion. This means it's time to look back at some of the trades that defined, enabled and inhibited teams in the 2000s.
But before we examine the decade's biggest deals in more detail, here's a list of runners up:
- The Rangers acquired Michael Young from the Blue Jays in 2000.
- The D'Backs acquired Curt Schilling from the Phillies in 2000.
- The A's acquired Johnny Damon from the Royals in a 2001 three-team deal that also included Mark Ellis, Ben Grieve, Cory Lidle and Roberto Hernandez.
- The A's acquired Jermaine Dye from the Royals (via the Rockies) in 2001.
- The Cards acquired Scott Rolen from the Phillies in 2002.
- The Cubs acquired Aramis Ramirez from the Pirates in 2003.
- The Red Sox acquired Curt Schilling from the D'Backs in 2003.
- The Pirates acquired Jason Bay and Oliver Perez from the Padres for Brian Giles in 2003.
- The Cubs acquired Derrek Lee from the Marlins in 2003.
- The Astros acquired Carlos Beltran from the Royals in a 2004 three-team deal.
- The Cardinals acquired Larry Walker from the Rockies in 2004.
- The Cubs acquired Nomar Garciaparra from the Red Sox in a 2004 four-team deal.
- The Yankees acquired Randy Johnson from the D'Backs for a package including Javier Vazquez and Dioner Navarro in 2005.
- The Padres acquired Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young from the Rangers in 2005.
- The Rangers sent Edinson Volquez to Cincinnati for Josh Hamilton in 2007.
- The Tigers acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins in 2007.
- The Mets acquired Johan Santana from the Twins in 2008.
- The Brewers acquired C.C. Sabathia from the Indians in 2008.
- The A's acquired Matt Holliday from the Rockies in 2008.
- The Cardinals acquired Matt Holliday from the A's in 2009.
- The Phillies acquired Cliff Lee from the Indians in 2009.
- The Red Sox acquired Victor Martinez from the Indians in 2009.
- The White Sox acquired Jake Peavy from the Padres in 2009.
Not bad, for a group of runners up (and remember, we'll look at the decade's biggest deals in detail). Which trades on this list do you consider most important?