Let’s take a look back at some notable trades and signings that have taken place on January 10…
2015: It was exactly one year ago that the Rays sent Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar to the Athletics in exchange for John Jaso and prospects Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell. It’s a sign of how busy both those franchises have been over the last year that today, four of those five players (Robertson excepted) have again moved on to new teams. Zobrist and Escobar, in fact, have both switched uniforms twice since that initial deal; the A’s flipped Escobar to Washington just four days after acquiring him from Tampa. Given all of the new talent that joined the rosters in subsequent deals, it may be several years before we can definitively declare a winner of the five-player swap. It could really turn into a comparison of Robertson and lefty Sean Manaea, the top pitching prospect who the A’s acquired in the deadline deal that sent Zobrist to Kansas City.
2012: One of the key names of the 2015-16 free agent market first came to Major League Baseball on this day four years ago when Wei-Yin Chen signed with the Orioles after four tremendous seasons in Japan. Chen signed a three-year deal worth $11.388MM in guaranteed money, plus a $4.75MM club option for the 2015 season. That contract ended up being a terrific bargain for the O’s as Chen was a key contributor to their two playoff teams over his four years in Baltimore. Needless to say, Chen’s next deal will be a much more expensive one, as he and agent Scott Boras are looking for a five-year, $100MM contract on the open market.
2010: The Giants signed Aubrey Huff to a one-year, $3MM contract that, at the time, drew some poor reviews from executives from around the game. Huff had been a very solid contributor over his first nine seasons but was coming off a down year in 2009 in his age-32 season. Critics wondered why the Giants would sign a seemingly declining veteran when they had an up-and-comer (Brandon Belt) and a superior defender (Travis Ishikawa) as internal first base options. As it turned out, the Giants guessed wisely that Huff would bounce back, as he rebounded with a big .290/.385/.506 line and 26 homers over 668 PA to help lead San Francisco to a World Series title.
1991: Cover your eyes, Orioles fans. It was on this day 25 years ago that the O’s sent Curt Schilling, Steve Finley and Pete Harnisch to the Astros in exchange for Glenn Davis. While Davis had been one of the game’s better and more underrated sluggers in Houston, injuries curtailed his production in Baltimore and he didn’t play again after the 1993 season. WAR-wise, it’s not pretty from the Orioles’ perspective — Davis generated just 0.7 bWAR over his three seasons in Baltimore while Harnisch and Finley combined for 24.1 bWAR from 1991-94. As for Schilling, it could be argued that the Astros didn’t really know what they had in him either, as he was dealt to the Phillies for Jason Grimsley in April 1992. It wasn’t until he came to Philadelphia that Schilling put it all together and exhibited his superstar form.
1928: Rogers Hornsby hit a whopping .361/.448/.586 with 26 homers for the New York Giants in 1927, but it was Hornsby’s off-the-field issues that led to the Giants trading the Hall-of-Famer to the Boston Braves for catcher Shanty Hogan and outfielder Jimmy Welsh. Hornsby was one of the most disliked players of his era, unpopular with both teammates and management, and he was also a big bettor on horse racing. These issues reportedly led to his departure from New York for a relatively meager return, though Hogan ended up posting good-to-very good numbers as the Giants’ semi-regular catcher until 1932. As for Hornsby, he won the “slash line Triple Crown” by leading the league in average, OBP and slugging in 1928 and even managed the Braves for much of the 1928 season. He didn’t last long in Boston either, however, as the Braves dealt him to the Cubs for five players and $200K after the season.