The Miami Marlins sure have been busy this off-season, alienating every one of the 12 or so die hard fans they have left.
In a slash-and-burn effort to rebuild their farm system — and save a ton of cash — the Fish dealt away MVP OF Giancarlo Stanton, 2B Dee Gordon, OF Christian Yelich and OF Marcell Ozuna.
Now there is talk they might part with hard-hitting catcher J.T. Realmuto. Ouch.
Surefire Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, part of the new ownership group, tried to assuage fans’ anger at a recent town hall by saying that the fire sale and acquisition of prospects will make the team competitive down the road, and said they’ll still be competitive now. Uh, yah.
The fallout from the four winter trades won’t be felt until at least some of the prospects pan out — or not. We do know Stanton makes the New York Yankees already potent line-up even scarier. Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton already looks like Maris-Mantle.
In the last 25 years, there have been some deals so blatantly bad that their effects are still being felt, many years later. Here are 20 of the absolute worst.
20. Los Angeles Dodgers Give Up on Paul Konerko – 1998
The Dodgers haven’t won a World Series in 30 years and lost the 2017 Fall Classic to Houston. Twenty years ago, they had a great young slugging first baseman in their organization named Paul Konerko. In 1997, the 1994 first round pick hit .323 for AAA Albuquerque, smashing 37 homers and driving in 127 runs at the tender age of 21. He earned a call-up in 1998 and while he didn’t hit for great average in 49 games (.215) or power (four homers), he was still just 22.
But, the Dodgers needed a closer to get them into playoff contention and decided to package up Konerko and prospect reliever Dennys Reyes to the Reds for All-Star closer Jeff Shaw. It wasn’t a hugely lopsided deal at the time, but Shaw never did help the Dodgers make the playoffs. The Reds would turn Konerko around for Chicago White Sox star outfielder Mike Cameron later that year. Konerko would become a true leader in Chicago, garnering six All-Star nominations, swatting 432 homers over 16 seasons, and collecting an ALCS MVP award and a World Series ring in 2005. How good would he have looked in Dodger Blue?
19. Miami Marlins Swap Giancarlo Stanton To the Yankees – 2017
This deal may go down in history as the worst trade ever made. The Marlins dealt the 2017 NL MVP and Hank Aaron award winner to the Evil Empire for 2B Starlin Castro, and minor leaguers Jose Devers and Jorge Guzman. Castro is a four-time All-Star and decent hitter, sure, but he won’t make season ticked holders in South Beach forget about Stanton anytime soon. As for Devers and Guzman, only Guzman we’d consider an above average prospect (5-3, 2.30 ERA in 13 starts at A Ball Staten Island). The Marlins also committed themselves to a 100-loss season — or more — by trading away outfielders Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich and 2B Dee Gordon recently, for a passel of prospects.
With Stanton slated for some field duty and pretty much full-time designated hitter status in New York, the Bombers will have the reigning AL (Aaron Judge) and NL home run kings in middle of a murderous line-up. That line-up also includes slugging catcher Gary Sanchez (33 HR in 2017) and SS Didi Gregorius (25 HR). That, dear readers, is 169 dingers worth of slugging power available to manager Aaron Boone. And that’s before factoring in a full season from the likes of 1B Greg Bird or minor league star hitter Miguel Andujar at third.
18. Cincinnati Reds Send Edwin Encarnacion To Toronto – 2009
We can forgive the Reds, to a point, for dealing “Edwing” at the 2009 deadline. He was a below average fielder at third base and after three fairly promising seasons at the plate between 2006 and 2008, he was mediocre in 43 games in 2009. He hit just .209 with five homers and 16 RBI. Even though there was still potential in his once potent bat, the Reds had their eye on aging star third sacker Scott Rolen, who was a far better fielder and was hitting .320 for the Blue Jays in 88 games.
Let’s just say they should have found a way to keep him. Upon being dealt to Toronto, Encarnacion was sent across the diamond to be a first baseman and the switch to the Rogers Center was the tonic for his bat. In eight seasons with the Blue Jays, the popular Dominican slugged 239 homers, drove in 679 (including an AL high 127 in 2016) and had an OPS of .878. He also figured huge in the Jays post-season drives of 2015 and 2016, hitting .280 with four homers and 14 RBI, including a massive walk-off blast against Baltimore in the 2016 Wild Card game. Rolen had one good year with the Reds and was gone in 2012 after parts of two seasons.
17. Oakland Deals Matt Holliday To St. Louis For Spare Parts – 2009
Matt Holliday was neither a green rookie or diminishing asset when the Oakland A’s traded him to St. Louis straight up for minor league prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson prior to the 2009 trade deadline. The slugging three-time All-Star, who had just been acquired from Colorado prior to the 2009 season, was hitting .286, with 11 homers and 54 RBI in 93 games with the Athletics. The penny-pinching A’s, who were going to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season, decided getting some prospects and cash ($1.5 million) for Holliday was in order.
Well, Holliday ripped it up in 63 games for the Cards, hitting .353 with 13 homers and 55 RBI. Other than one injury plagued year (2015), Holliday would hit over 20 homers in six of seven seasons, drive in over 100 runs twice and get four more All-Star nominations on the senior circuit. He also played a big role in six playoff seasons for St. Louis and won a World Series ring in 2011. As for the players going to Oakland, Wallace, a catcher, never played a game in the Bay Area and OF Peterson had all of seven at bats and one hit. Mortensen pitched in seven games and logged an ERA of 7.22.
16. Texas Rangers Unload Kyle Hendricks For Aging Vet Ryan Dempster – 2012
At the 2012 trade deadline, the Rangers, who were on the way to making the playoffs after two straight unsuccessful trips to the World Series, needed a veteran starter to add to the rotation. The Chicago Cubs, who were going to lose 101 games in 2012, dangled 35-year-old Ryan Dempster, who was having not a bad year with a 5-5 record and 2.25 ERA in 16 starts. The Rangers were willing to part with 2011 eighth-round selection Kyle Hendricks, who was in A Ball that year, as well as minor league catcher Christian Villanueva.
At first look, the trade wasn’t too bad, as Dempster went 7-3 in 12 starts for the Rangers, helping them secure a wild card playoff spot. But, he didn’t pitch in that lone game against Baltimore, won by the Orioles 5-1. Dempster was gone to Boston at the end of the season and was out of baseball after the 2013 season. Hendricks, meanwhile, parlayed some great work in the Cubs AA/AAA system into a full-time starters gig with Chicago. By the 2016 championship season, he was Cy Young material, posting a NL best ERA of 2.13 and a 16-8 record in 30 starts. He started two games in the 2016 Fall Classic and while he didn’t get a decision, he allowed just one earned run in nine innings, while striking out eight.
15. Texas Rangers Trade Tanner Roark To Washington For Cristian Guzman – 2010
We can’t help but wonder how well the Rangers might have done against Toronto in back-to-back ALDS if they had Matt Hendricks and Tanner Roark in their rotation. Two years before flipping Hendricks to the Cubs, Texas packaged up young starter Tanner Roark and part-time minor league starter Ryan Tatusko to Washington for speedy middle infielder Cristian Guzman. He was brought for his ability on the basepaths and a decent glove and bat for the post-season. It would prove to be way too one-sided.
Guzman, a two-time All-Star whose best days were well behind him, got in 15 games with the Rangers and had 46 at bats, hitting a lacklustre .152 with one RBI. He didn’t play in any one of the Rangers’ 16 playoff games and was gone from baseball all together after failed tryouts with other teams in 2011 and 2012. Roark, on the other hand, progressed nicely in the Nationals farm system and in 2014 was a full-time starter. In five years with the club, he has a 55-39 record, 3.41 ERA and 586 strikeouts in 151 games (111 of them starts). He is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three playoff games.
14. Oakland Athletics Flip Josh Donaldson To Toronto For Brett Lawrie And Minor Leaguers – 2014
Three years after a deal that saw Oakland send MVP candidate Josh Donaldson to Toronto, all the A’s have to show for it are so-so starter Kendall Graveman and light hitting middle infielder Franklin Barreto. The Jays, quite the opposite, got a MVP season out of Donaldson in 2015, as well as stellar defence and a clutch bat in regular season and post-season contests. The Athletics, always looking to squeeze another dime out of transactions. shipped soon-to-be free agent Donaldson to Toronto in late November 2014 for 3B Brett Lawrie, Graveman, Barreto and lefty pitcher Sean Nolin.
Donaldson lit the AL up in 2015, scoring a league high 122 runs and driving in a AL best 123 runs, while also smashing 41 doubles, 41 homers and compiling a .297 batting average to win MVP honors. He has hit 111 homers and recorded 300 RBI in 426 games so far. He’s been just as potent in 20 playoff games, hitting .325 along with nine doubles, four homers and 13 RBI. Oakland has gotten some value, though not near what Donaldson has provided the fans in Toronto. Lawrie played his best season ever in Oakland, hitting .260 with 16 HR and 60 RBI, but was gone after the 2015 season. Nolin got in six games in 2015 and hasn’t been hear from since. Graveman is still with Oakland and is 22-24 in 71 starts, with a 4.11 ERA, while Barreto saw his first action with the team in 2017, logging a .197 batting average and two homers in 25 games.
13. Texas Rangers Unload Chris Davis On Baltimore For Koji Uehara – 2011
The Rangers could have had an All-Star team during the 2015 and 2016 ALDS against Toronto, had they not earlier traded away either rising stars (Tanner Roark and Kyle Hendricks) or high risk/high reward guys like 1B Chris Davis. The latter, who struggled through two straight seasons at the plate in 2010 and 2011, was packaged up with promising starter/reliever Tommy Hunter for Orioles hard-throwing reliever Koji Uehara. This was another deal the Rangers made in 2011 to try and put them over the playoff hump.
Davis would hit much better in 31 games with Baltimore at the end of the 2011 season and in 2013 he came third in MVP voting after leading the AL in homers with 53 and RBIs with 138. He has since topped the loop in homers again (47 in 2015) and in six and part of one other season hit a total of 225 big flies, along with 570 RBI. Hunter had six decent seasons in Baltimore, going 21-20 in 224 games, with 15 saves and 263 strikeouts. Uehara was OK in the regular season with Texas in 2011 and 2012, but wholly ineffective in the playoffs, allowing five hits (three of them homers) and five earned runs in 2.1 innings of work.
12. Atlanta Braves Sell The Farm For Texas Rangers 1B Mark Teixeira – 2007
This is one trade the Texas Rangers didn’t lose. In 2007, the Rangers were facing the eighth of 10 straight seasons out of the playoff picture, when they decided it was time to get a monster return for slugging All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira. The Maryland native, then just 27, already had to Gold Glove and two Silver Slugger awards, as well as 153 homers and 499 RBI in 693 games. The Braves bit hard on him, sending the Rangers hot young prospects in SS Elvis Andrus, reliever Neftali Feliz, starter Matt Harrison and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Now, Teixeira did hit well for the Braves, with 37 homers and and 134 RBI, but only played 157 games before being moved again at the 2008 deadline to the Los Angeles Angels. The players that Texas got, though, set them up for five playoff runs in the last eight years. Andrus has been the most valuable, making the club in 2009 and playing all 1,379 of his big league games with the Rangers. He has held a .277 average with 266 stolen bases, and 524 RBI. He also has a .266 batting average in 42 playoff games, with seven RBI and nine stolen bases. Harrison pitched in 135 games (103 starts) and fashioned a 50-35 record and 4.21 ERA up to 2015. Feliz was AL Rookie of the Year with Texas in 2010 and had a 2.69 ERA and 93 saves over seven seasons (1.93 ERA and seven saves in 18 playoff games).
11. Pittsburgh Sends Aramis Ramirez To The Chicago Cubs – 2003
Even though the Cubbies didn’t have a whole lot to crow about until they won the 2016 World Series, but they did pull the wool over the Pittsburgh Pirates in a doomed 2003 trade. That year the Cubs were going to the playoffs for the first time in five seasons and were looking to beef up their line-up for a long run at the deadline. So, they sent veteran utility player and 2002 All-Star Jose Hernandez, along with infielder Bobby Hill and minor league starter Matt Bruback to Pittsburgh for slugging 3B Aramis Ramirez and fleet veteran CF Kenny Lofton.
In what could be described as the heist of the century, Ramirez would go on to be a two-time All-Star and four-time MVP vote-getter in nine seasons, hitting 239 homers with 806 RBI in 1,124 games. He also smoked three homers and drove in seven runs during the Cubbies ill-fated seven-game loss to Floriday in the 2003 NLCS. Lofton only stuck around for a the last half of that season and the playoffs, but hit .327 in 56 regular season games and contributed 10 hits and a .323 average in the NLCS. As for Hernandez, he hit a paltry .223 with the Pirates and was gone at the end of the season to Los Angeles. Bobby Hill hit .267 in 185 games with Pittsburgh and was out of baseball in 2005. Bruback never threw an inning of big league baseball.
10. Houston Astros Deal Ben Zobrist To Tampa Bay For Aubrey Huff – 2006
On paper, at least at first, this trade seemed lopsided in the Astros favor. In 2006, the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays were looking to trade Huff and his big bat while they could. He had hit over 20 homers a season between 2002 and 2006 and had driven in over 100 runs in two campaigns. But, he had a bit of an injury plagued season, appearing in just 63 games before the trade deadline. The Devil Rays pulled the trigger on the trade with Houston, acquiring minor league prospect utility player Zobrist and pitcher Mitch Talbot.
Houston, which had gone to the World Series in 2005 and lost, were hoping Huff would be able to provide the pop in the middle of their line-up they were missing to get them back to the post-season. However, Huff would be a rental, hitting .250 in 68 games with 13 HR and 38 RBI as the Astros missed the playoffs. Huff was in a Baltimore uniform a year later. It took future two-time World Series champion and MVP Zobrist three seasons to become a full-time starter but when he did, he claimed two All-Star nominations and amassed 375 extra base hits and 511 RBI in 1,064 games with Tampa. He also had a big hand in getting the Rays to the playoffs in four different seasons.
9. Baltimore Flips Jake Arrieta To The Chicago Cubs – 2013
If ever a team might have wanted a do-over on a deal, O’s front office types would probably sell their souls to get Jake Arrieta back. While the future Cy Young winner was up-and-down with the Orioles, there was still potential, which the Orioles failed to see. Up until the middle of the 2013 season Arrieta started 63 games, fashioning a 20-25 record and 5.46 ERA. But, he also had 277 strikeouts in 358 innings. Baltimore pulled the plug on his Orioles career that year, shuffling him to the Cubbies with Pedro Strop for veteran starter Scott Feldman and back-up catcher Steve Clevenger.
The Cubs reaped the whirlwind with this lopsided deal of the decade, as Arrieta quickly ironed out his deficiencies enough to become the Cy Young winner in 2015. He was dominant in the 2016 World Series against Cleveland, too, going 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA and 15 strikeouts in two starts. Strop has been with the Cubs ever since, and is one of the most dominant set-up men/long relievers, striking out 319 batters in 271.2 innings, along with a sterling 2.72 ERA. Feldman was 5-6 the remainder of that year and gone to Houston in 2014, while Clevenger hit .259 in 69 games over three seasons in Baltimore.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Jose Bautista – 2008
Prior to 2008, outfielder Jose Bautista had never hit any more than 16 home runs in a season. In 2010, Jose Bautista hit 54 bombs and then had another successful year in 2011, hitting 43 more big flies. Bautista became an instant star in Canada after leaving Pittsburgh in an ill-fated 2008 trade for that infamous player to be named later — Robinson Diaz. He became an active — and combative — member of social media and was considered one of the best players in the American League up until recently. He didn’t elevate the Blue Jays past the ALCS playoffs but hit some memorable dingers, including that bomb that sunk Texas in the 2015 ALDS. His versatility has allowed him to also be able to play first base and third base, in addition to his usual outfield position.
Now a free agent and not likely going back to Toronto, Bautista was a six-time All-Star, led the American League in home runs twice, as well as being a three-time winner of the Silver Slugger award. Robinson Diaz is currently out of baseball, having played all of 43 games with the Bucs before retiring following the 2009 season. Pittsburgh did make the playoffs three times in a row between 2013 and 2015, but never got past the NLDS. Pirates management are probably resenting this trade, as Bautista may have provided the power in the middle of the line-up they lacked during those post-season years.
7. Toronto Blue Jays trade David Cone to the Yankees
This has to be a deal that Toronto wishes they could rewind the clock on. David Cone was part of the Blue Jays first World Series title in 1992. After two seasons in Kansas City, he returned to Toronto in 1995 but was later traded to the Yankees in late July of the same year. Cone went on to win four World Series titles with the Bronx Bombers and was a 20-game winner in 1998. The three players who came north of the border — Jason Jarvis, Marty Janzen and Mike Gordon — never developed into anything huge. Janzen, a starter/reliever, lasted longest, getting in 27 games and posting a 6-7 record and 6.39 ERA. He was never seen again in the bigs after 1997.
Cone’s Hall of Fame career took off after his second stint with the Blue Jays. This move was clearly a ‘what were you thinking?’ moment for former Toronto General Manager Gord Ash. Cone clearly wasn’t washed up when the former GM sent him packing to the Evil Empire, as he went on to start 144 games in six seasons, with a 3.91 ERA and 888 of his career 2,668 strikeouts in 922 innings. He was also 6-1 in 18 post-season starts, with 68 Ks.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers Deal Pedro Martinez to Montreal – 1994
The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are two of baseball’s historic franchises. The Dodgers have produced some of the greatest pitchers ever to play in the game, including future Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. But, he wouldn’t do his best work in southern California. The Dodgers fired him up to Montreal in 1994, where he learned to be dominant, winning the Cy Young for the Expos in 1997 before being dealt to Boston and becoming an integral part in ending the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. Martinez went 17-8 with a NL low 1.90 ERA and 13 complete games during that 1997 season with Montreal.
The player going the other way, Delino DeShields’ had a contract that was too expensive for the cash poor Expos to maintain, making him expendable. After this trade to the Dodgers, DeShields didn’t hit quite like he did in La Belle Province, neither did he steal as many bases (he averaged 47 thefts a season in Montreal and 38 in three seasons in L.A.). He went to the playoffs just twice with the Dodgers, never getting past the NLDS, while Martinez went on to win three Cy Young awards and later lead the American League for three seasons with the most strikeouts.
5. New York Yankees Trade Jose Contreras To The White Sox
Jose Contreras was the Cuban gem that came to the Major Leagues and got his career started with the New York Yankees. As the Yankees dynasty of the late 90’s and early 2000’s was coming to an end, Contreras was shipped to the Chicago White Sox for Esteban Loaiza. Laoiza would have the indistinction of being part of two rather horrendous trades in his career. First in 2000, he was traded from the Texas Rangers to Toronto for a young prospect second baseman named Michael Young, who could end up being in the Hall of Fame.
After Loaiza was dealt to the Yankees for Contreras he lasted all of a half season with the Bombers, where he fashioned a terrible 8.50 ERA. Although Jose Contreras was hardly a Hall of Fame candidate, this trade was considered a steal of a deal for the White Sox. He got in 148 games with the Chisox, recording a 55-56 record, with a 4.66 ERA and 628 strikeouts. He helped the South Siders to win the 2005 World Series, where he won his only start against the Houston Astros in game 1, scattering six hits and three runs over seven innings to win 5-3.
4. Cleveland Indians Swap Brandon Phillips To Cincinnati – 2006
It could be suggested that Brandon Phillips has been one of the best second basemen in baseball, not only in the National League but in the majors. Phillips was an original draft pick of the Montreal Expos in 1999 and was then traded to Cleveland in a package deal for pitcher Bartolo Colon. After brief stops in Montreal and Cleveland, he found his groove in Cincinnati. Reds fans who were lucky enough to see him play at the Great American Ballpark saw just how special a player he is. Phillips, who was with the Halos last year, is a four-time Gold Glove winner, played in three All-Star games, and won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011.
The Cleveland Indians got pitcher Jeff Stevens in the deal for Phillips, and his career didn’t really take off in Cleveland. In December of 2008, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for utility player Mark DeRosa. DeRosa played every position on the field with the exception of center field, catcher and pitcher. Stevens struggled to get out of the minors and had just a brief Major League career that lasted from 2009 until 2011 (as a member of the Cubs). He pitched in only 33 games, all in relief and had a 1-0 record with a 6.27 ERA and 1.714 WHIP.
3. Philadelphia Phillies Trade Curt Schilling To Arizona – 2000
Curt Schilling’s career came full circle later, as he was a member of the Boston Red Sox farm in the mid-1980s. In 1988, he was traded with outfielder Brady Anderson to the Baltimore Orioles. After three seasons in Baltimore and one season in Houston, he found his niche in ‘the city of brotherly love’ with the Philadelphia Phillies. After helping Philadelphia reach the World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993, he was shockingly traded away to Arizona in 2000, to be paired with the Big Unit, Randy Johnson, forming one of the most feared starting tandems in baseball. They each gave the Yankees fits in the playoffs in 2001 and managed a World Series title for the state of Arizona.
Schilling won over 20 games twice in a Diamondbacks uniform in just three and a half seasons and was second in Cy Young voting twice. He was sent to Boston later and had another Cy Young worthy year there in 2004, the year the Curse of the Bambino was lifted. The Phillies clearly lost that futile trade at the turn of the millenium. Three of the young of the young players they got back, Travis Lee, Omar Daal, and Nelson Figueroa, all had very unproductive careers. Only pitcher Vicente Padilla gave the Phillies any kind of return, as he amassed a record of 49-49 in a Philadelphia uniform, along with a 3.98 ERA and one All-Star game appearance.
2. Oakland Athletics Deal Mark McGwire To St. Louis – 1997
The Oakland Athletics were a feared team in the American League West during the 1980’s. They had manager Tony La Russa directing the team and had two of baseball’s greatest power hitters in Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, who were affectionately known as “the Bash Brothers.” Along with speedy Rickey Henderson setting the table, they were three of the most feared bats in baseball. In 1996, McGwire hit a career high 52 home runs and in 1997, he cranked another 34 bombs up to July 31, when he was shockingly dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for three prospects — T.J. Mathews, Eric Ludwick and Blake Stein.
That trade kick started the ‘Moneyball’ approach that the Athletics ball club would implement going forward. The Athletics thought that Stein, Matthews and Ludwick would soon be famous faces in the Bay Area. It never quite happened for them, but McGwire would go on to break the single season home run record with St. Louis, banging out 70 in 1998. In all, McGwire hit 583 home runs and drove in 1,414 RBIs over his 16-year career. He was a fixture at first base in the Gateway City and appeared in three more All-Star Games with them before hanging them up in 2001. The three prospects sent to Oakland became but a footnote to one of the worst trades in the last 25 years — maybe even ever.
1. Texas Rangers Give Away Alex Rodriguez To The Yankees – 2004
This trade clearly has to be the most recognizable one this century. In reality it was just the Texas Rangers ridding themselves of Alex Rodriguez’s monster contract and getting back a serviceable player in Alfonso Soriano, who they later got rid of. Considered one of the best shortstops in the game, A-Rod would go on to man third after this deal. The Yankees already had an All-Star shortstop in Derek Jeter, so the Yanks put their newly acquired star and his 10-year $252 million dollar contract at the hot corner and the rest, as they say, is history.
Rodriguez, despite all the noise and notoriety of alleged PED abuse, played 1,509 mostly memorable games in a Yankees uniform, winning two of his three MVP awards and a World Series ring in 2009. He hit 351 of his 696 homers in Yankee pinstripes and was an All-Star seven times. Soriano, meanwhile, played two very good years with the Rangers before moving on and starring with the Chicago Cubs before returning to the Yankees later. Soriano, who was a seven-time All-Star, retired at the end of the 2014 season.