March isn’t often a month for major trades, with most of the action coming over the winter or during the summer, but there are occasionally notable pacts. Teams will spend most of their time assessing the options on hand, but sometimes that means identifying needs or seeking opportunities.
With the month just underway, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the most significant deals that did go through in recent years during the pre-season buildup in March and early April.
On the eve of Opening Day, the Padres acquired Craig Kimbrel from the Braves in a complex deal involving quite a bit of salary swapping. Needless to say, it stands as the most dramatic late-spring deal of recent vintage. In more typical moves, the Braves picked up Trevor Cahill (and about half of his hefty salary) while the Mets added lefty relievers Alex Torres and Jerry Blevins (the latter in a rare swap with the Nats). And the Mariners sent Erasmo Ramirez to the Rays for Mike Montgomery.
Things were pretty quiet that year, with two of the biggest moves involving utility infielders: the Tigers added Andrew Romine from the Angels and the Twins got Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees. Minnesota also sent Vance Worley to the Pirates, who ended up benefiting quite a bit from that move.
It didn’t seem like much at the time, but the Athletics’ pick-up of Stephen Vogt from the Rays — for cash — has paid big dividends since. The Yankees took on a decent chunk of the Vernon Wells contract from the Angels, proving that money can move in March. Steve Geltz ultimately logged a fair number of innings for the Rays, but not in the year he was swapped for Dane De La Rosa, who excelled in 2013 for the Halos. And the Astros got some innings out of Travis Blackley after adding him from the A’s.
The Reds ended up landing a bullpen fixture in J.J. Hoover, who came from the Braves in exchange for Juan Francisco. The Chris Stewart-for-George Kontos swap panned out nicely for the Giants, who’ve received quite a few productive frames from the righty. Stewart has turned into a useful backup catcher in Pittsburgh, but largely struggled in New York. Both Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero gave some depth to the Royals, with the Astros getting Kevin Chapman in the deal.
MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker was used extensively for the purposes of this post.