The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but as we explained earlier today, that in no way means that trading is over. Working out trades is now quite a bit more complicated, but if history is any indication, we’ll still see our fair share of notable names exchanged and possibly some under-the-radar swaps that will look like coups with the benefit of hindsight in a few years.
Here’s a look back at some of the more notable deals from the past three Augusts (with a helping hand from MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker)…
2012 (Transaction Tracker link)
- Dodgers acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and cash considerations from Red Sox in exchange for Allen Webster, James Loney, Jerry Sands, Ivan De Jesus and Rubby De La Rosa: One of the most significant trades in recent history (August or otherwise), this trade saw the Red Sox shed more than $250MM in future payroll commitments, positioning GM Ben Cherington for an aggressive offseason on the free agent market that netted Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes — each of whom played a role (some more significant than others) in fueling the Red Sox’ 2013 World Series run. As for the Dodgers, Gonzalez has returned to elite status, while Crawford has quietly rebounded (to some extent) and Beckett delivered 115 2/3 innings of 2.88 ERA ball in 2014 — his final season.
- Athletics acquire Jesse Chavez from Blue Jays for cash considerations, and also acquire Pat Neshek from Orioles for cash considerations: Neither of these deals looked to be of much consequence at the time, but Neshek jumped right into the Oakland bullpen and delivered a 1.37 ERA in 19 2/3 innings. That stretch kicked off a career renaissance of sorts for the side-armer, who is now an integral part of the Houston bullpen. As for Chavez, he’s still with Oakland and has turned in a 3.57 ERA in 318 innings from 2013-15. He’s also controllable through 2016.
2013 (Transaction Tracker link)
- Pirates acquire Marlon Byrd, John Buck from Mets in exchange for Dilson Herrera, Vic Black: Byrd took a minor league deal with the Mets prior to the season, while Buck was viewed as a throw-in in the offseason blockbuster with the Blue Jays, but both put up big numbers with the Mets and netted the team a pair of significant prospects from Pittsburgh. Byrd and Buck helped the Pirates to the playoffs, ending a 21-year playoff drought, and Herrera is now seen as the Mets’ second baseman of the future. Black, too, could play a part on the team for years to come as a setup man if health permits.
- Rangers acquire Alex Rios from White Sox in exchange for Leury Garcia: Rios was one of the biggest names traded in August 2013 (though Chicago’s acquisition of him from the Blue Jays in 2009 may be the more notable August move), and he batted .280/.315/.457 for Texas down the stretch. He’d go on to struggle in 2014 and take a one-year deal with the Royals. Garcia, meanwhile, could eventually make for a nice utility piece in Chicago, but to this point the Rangers have received more from the deal than they gave up.
2014 (Transaction Tracker link)
- Athletics acquire Adam Dunn from White Sox for Nolan Sanburn: An Aug. 31 trade sent the Big Donkey to Oakland, where he caught a fleeting glimpse of playoff baseball before retiring this offseason. Dunn memorably homered in his first at-bat with Oakland.
- Nationals acquire Matt Thornton from Yankees via waiver claim: The Nationals placed a claim on Thornton and, somewhat surprisingly, the Yankees imply elected to pass the remaining tab on his two-year, $7MM contract along to the Nats. No one in D.C. is complaining; Thornton fired 11 1/3 shutout innings for the Nats down the stretch in 2014 and has a 2.19 ERA this sason.
- Orioles acquire Alejandro De Aza from White Sox for Miguel Chalas and Mark Blackmar: De Aza didn’t hit much for the White Sox in his final year with the team, but he exploded in Baltimore, slashing .293/.341/.537 down the stretch and going 7-for-21 with three doubles in the playoffs. His second year in Baltimore didn’t go as well; the O’s designated him for assignment and flipped him to the Red Sox earlier this year, and Boston has enjoyed nice production from the 31-year-old. De Aza’s hitting .305/.353/.500 with Boston and is once again an August trade candidate.
There were, of course, many more trades made over the past three Augusts (check out the accompanying Transaction Tracker links above for the full lists), and there figure to be many more this season. I doubt we’ll see a nine-player blockbuster in which more than a quarter-billion dollars worth of salary changes hands again, but there are plenty of big names with significant salary owed to them that didn’t move last month. James Shields, Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Marlon Byrd, Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Mike Napoli, Alex Avila, Rajai Davis and many others could find their names floating around on the rumor mill this month.