Thanksgiving isn’t usually a barnburner of a day as far as baseball transactions are concerned, but that’s pattern more than rule. Most years something official happens along the lines of Matt Skole signing with the White Sox in 2019 or Jason Lane signing with the Padres in 2014 – but three years in particular gave us a heaping portion of baseball news befitting turkey day: 2005, 2007, 2009. While we wait to see what happens this year, let’s go back and look at some of the most impactful moves made on Thanksgiving day.
- Last year was a quiet Thanksgiving day, but there was plenty to talk about. If you recall, we were just one day removed from the four-player Brewers/Padres swap that saw Trent Grisham and Zach Davies land in San Diego. MLBTR readers weighed in on Thanksgiving with more people preferring the Brewers’ side of the deal. The Brew Crew landed promising infielder Luis Urías and potential rotation arm Eric Lauer. A year removed, my guess is the public sentiment may have changed. This one might need more time to gestate, however, before a final determination can be made.
- On this same date and day in history, the Cleveland Indians signed an amateur free agent that changed the fortunes of their franchise. Jose Ramirez – a 17-year-old amateur free agent out of Dominican Republic – signed on Thursday, November 26, 2009. He would debut in the Majors just four years later as a 20-year-old.
- On the same day, the Toronto Blue Jays struck in free agency signing shortstop Álex González to a free agent contract. Of course, this isn’t the Alex Gonzalez most Blue Jays fans will remember best. This A-Gon spent just a few months north of the border. He was traded to the Braves on July 14th of the following season as part of a four-player deal that sent Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes to Toronto. Escobar would net 8.6 bWAR across 2 1/2 seasons with the Jays, while Reyes would be claimed off waivers by the Orioles later that season.
- In 2007, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim invested heavily in a free agent centerfielder who had spent the entirety of his career to that point in the Twin Cities. Torii Hunter signed for $89.5MM over five years to roam the grass in Anaheim. He’d win two Gold Gloves and make two All-Star teams while racking up 20.7 bWAR as an Angel. They got their money’s worth as Hunter would post the best two seasons of his career by bWAR while with the Angels (2009, 2012).
- The Cincinnati Reds signed Miguel Rojas as an amateur free agent on November 24, 2005. Rojas would stay in the Reds’ minor league system for a full six seasons before being granted free agency and joining the Dodgers in 2012.
- That same season, the Marlins did some work with two significant trades on Thanksgiving. The first sent Carlos Delgado and cash to the Mets for Grant Psomas, Mike Jacobs and Yusmeiro Petit. Delgado spent just one season in Florida, but he did grab a 6th-place MVP finish that year for slashing .301/.399/.582 with 33 bombs.
- Their other deal helped bring the second title of the century to the Red Sox. The Fish traded Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to Boston for Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia, Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez would have a number of solid years with the Fish, while Hanley Ramirez developed into a cornerstone shortstop and the face of the franchise.