Major transactions can occur at any time in baseball's offseason, even during the lull between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Let's look back at some of the major transactions that have taken place on past December 28ths over the years…
- It was one year ago today that the Red Sox acquired Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney from the Athletics in exchange for Josh Reddick and prospects Miles Head and Raul Alcantara. Boston had Bailey tapped as the team's replacement for Jonathan Papelbon at closer, but Bailey struggled with injuries and posted a 7.04 ERA in 19 games. Reddick, meanwhile, had a breakout year, winning a Gold Glove and hitting .242/.305/.463 with 32 homers to help lead the A's to the AL West pennant. Even if Bailey gets healthy and returns to form, a good closer doesn't have the value of a good (and controllable through 2016) everyday outfielder, so I'd say Oakland has won this trade already.
- Jon Garland signed a three-year, $29MM contract to remain with the White Sox on this day in 2005. Garland never quite developed into anything more than a nice innings-eater, averaging 210 IP with a 4.37 ERA and 4.5 K/9 rate over the next two seasons. Chicago dealt Garland to the Angels for Orlando Cabrera following the 2007 season.
- The Diamondbacks acquired their most beloved player in franchise history on this day in 1998, picking up Luis Gonzalez from the Tigers in exchange for Karim Garcia. Gonzalez had been a solid player for his first nine years in the majors but he exploded in Arizona, posting a 1.001 OPS over the next three seasons including a 57-homer outburst in 2001. Gonzalez is best remembered for his walkoff bloop single against Mariano Rivera in Game Seven of the legendary 2001 World Series. Garcia, meanwhile, had a .708 OPS in 104 games with Detroit before being dealt during the 2000 season.
- Tim Raines is in the news due to his Hall of Fame candidacy, and it was on this day in 1995 that Raines was dealt from the White Sox to the Yankees for future considerations. Raines was 36 years old at the time of the trade but he still had plenty of value as a platoon player, hitting .299/.395/.429 in 940 PAs over his three seasons in New York and winning two World Series rings.
- The Astros and Padres swung a whopper of a trade on this day in 1994, with 12 players eventually changing teams once all was settled. Houston acquired Derek Bell, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez (not that one), Phil Plantier and Craig Shipley while San Diego picked up Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Sean Fesh (as a player to be named later), Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine and Brian Williams.
- Warren Cromartie surprised many by instead signing a three-year, $2.5MM deal with the Yomiuri Giants on this day in 1983, a rare case of a player going to Japan in his prime. (Baseball Reference believes collusion may have played a role in Cromartie not finding a good Major League offer.) Cromartie played in Japan for seven seasons and wrote a book about his experiences in the NPL following his retirement.
- Danny O'Connell may not be well-remembered today, but the infielder was so highly-sought by the Braves that they sent six players and $100K to the Pirates in exchange for O'Connell on this day in 1953. It remains the only six-for-one trade in Major League history, topped only by the A's dealing Vida Blue to the Giants for seven players in 1978. O'Connell, by the way, didn't quite live up to the hype in Milwaukee. He posted a .647 OPS in three-plus years with the Braves and was part of a trade package sent to the Giants partway through the 1957 season for Red Schoendienst, who ended up playing a key role in the Braves' 1957 World Series run.