Let’s take a look back at some notable moves taking place on this day in years past…
- 2021: The Blue Jays officially announced their one-year, $18MM deal with Marcus Semien, as the two sides agreed to the contract a few days prior. In the aftermath of a disappointing 2020 season with the A’s, Semien opted for the one-year pact with Toronto in order to rebuild his free agent value with a better performance in 2021. This plan worked to perfection, as Semien finished third in AL MVP voting after hitting .265/.334/.538 with 45 home runs (a new single-season record for a second baseman). Semien then cashed in during his most recent trip to the open market, signing a seven-year, $175MM contract with the Rangers signed prior to the lockout.
- 2021: In another notable move completed one year ago, the Athletics acquired Cole Irvin from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations. Irvin hadn’t done much over 45 1/3 career innings with Philadelphia, but the southpaw emerged as a valuable member of Oakland’s rotation last year, posting a 4.24 ERA over 178 1/3 innings. While the Statcast metrics weren’t kind to Irvin and questions remain as to whether or not he can stick as a reliable starting pitcher, and yet for the cost of just a minor cash outlay, the trade was already a win for the A’s. It is possible Irvin wouldn’t have broken out without a change of scenery, and yet the deal doesn’t look great in hindsight for the Phillies, especially considering the Phils spent much of the season looking for consistency at the back of their rotation.
- 2016: Jean Segura was traded for the second of four times in his career, as the Diamondbacks acquired Segura and right-hander Tyler Wagner from the Brewers for a package of Chase Anderson, Isan Diaz, Aaron Hill, and $5.5MM to cover part of Hill’s remaining salary. Segura’s lone season in Arizona was the best of his career (.319/.368/.499 with 20 homers as part of a 5.0 fWAR campaign), but it wasn’t enough to keep the D’Backs from a 93-loss season. With Mike Hazen taking over as Arizona’s GM in the aftermath of that rough season, Segura found himself on the move again in November 2016, traded to the Mariners in another notable swap that brought Ketel Marte to the desert. From Milwaukee’s perspective, their Segura trade ended up being a nice win. Anderson became a solid member of the rotation for four seasons, while Diaz was part of the prospect package the Brewers sent to the Marlins to land Christian Yelich.
- 2006: Hey, remember when Mike Piazza played for the Padres? The Hall-of-Famer spent only one season in a Friars uniform, but it was a memorable one, sparked when Piazza signed a one-year, $2MM deal (with an $8MM mutual option for 2007). Getting the bulk of playing time as San Diego’s starting catcher, Piazza still plenty left in the tank at age 37, hitting .283/.342/.501 with 22 home runs over 439 PA. Piazza’s big year helped the Padres win the NL West, but the team declined their end of the mutual option after the season.
- 1954: Bobby Thomson’s legendary home run helped THE GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT in 1951, but it can be argued that trading Thomson helped the Giants win the World Series in 1954. On this day 68 years ago, the then-New York Giants picked up left-handers Johnny Antonelli and Don Liddle, backup catcher Ebba St. Claire, infielder Billy Klaus and $50K in cash from the then-Milwaukee Braves in exchange for Thomson and catcher Sam Calderone. Antonelli became a fixture of the Giants rotation for the next seven seasons, reaching six All-Star games and posting a league-best 2.30 ERA in 1954. Liddle was also a solid arm for New York in 1954, and might be best remembered for allowing the long Vic Wertz fly ball that required Willie Mays to make “The Catch” in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. Brought into the game specifically to face Wertz, Liddle was removed after facing his one batter — according to legend, Liddle then wisecracked “well, I got my man” in mock-bragging fashion after leaving the game.
- 1923: It’s not quite the most famous example of the Red Sox trading a future Hall-of-Famer to the Yankees, since it’s not like Boston fans bemoaned “The Curse Of Herb Pennock.” Still, the Yankees never won a World Series before Pennock came to the Bronx, dealt from Boston for $50K and three players who were all gone from the Sox roster by 1925. Pennock was already a 10-year veteran with a solid career behind him at the time of the trade, but after a couple of relative down years in 1921 and 1922, the Sox were ready to move on. Pennock went on to pitch 11 seasons with the Yankees, posting a 3.54 ERA over 2203 1/3 innings and helping New York win four Series championships. The southpaw was at his best in October, with a 1.95 ERA over 55 1/3 career innings in World Series play.