clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MLB Trade Deadline: The 5 Biggest Deadline Deals of the Past 5 Years


With the trade deadline just over a week away, I thought it would be a good time to take a brief look back at some of the biggest deals that happened around the deadline in the last 5 seasons. While we don't necessarily have a full idea of how each of these trades have played out for both teams yet, each of these has had a significant impact on that season's pennant races.

July 31, 2007 - The Texas Rangers trade 1B Mark Teixeiraand RP Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for P Beau Jones, SS Elvis Andrus, P Matt Harrison, P Neftali Feliz, and C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Despite being under contract through the 2008 season, the Rangers began looking to move Teixeira after it became apparent that he would not sign a contract extension prior to reaching free agency. The Braves were only 3.5 games out when the deal was finalized, and it was easily the biggest trade of the 2007 deadline.

How Did It Turn Out?

Unfortunately, the Braves didn't finish strong, as they finished the season 82-80 and in 3rd place in the NL East. They were in the 2008 NL East race for a while, but had fallen out of it by the deadline that season as well, and ended up moving Teixeira to the Angels in exchange for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek.

The Rangers definitely got the better end of the deal, as Elvis Andrus has been the starting shortstop for the past 3 seasons, Neftali Feliz has been the closer for the team the last 2 seasons, and Matt Harrison has been in the starting rotation for parts of the last 4 seasons.

More trades after the jump...

July 7, 2008 - The Cleveland Indianstrade SP C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for OF Michael Brantley, 1B Matt LaPorta, P Zach Jacksonand P Rob Bryson

The Indians knew that their ace would be leaving after the season via free agency, and were looking to get back solid pieces in return for him. They found a willing trade partner in the Brewers, who sent 4 prospects over in return for nearly half a season of Sabathia.

How Did It Turn Out?

The Brewers rode Sabathia to a 90-72 record, and a Wild Card appearance. Sabathia went 11-2 with 7 complete games in his half season with the Brewers, and even received some Cy Young votes in the National League. Unfortunately, the team was eliminated in the division series, as Sabathia couldn't be expected to pitch every game. Sabathia signed with the Yankeesin the offseason, netting the Brew Crew two draft picks, which they used to acquire Kentrail Davis and Max Walla.

The Indians did pretty well in this deal as well, as Brantley has become the starting left fielder this season, and LaPorta has been a solid first baseman for the team to this point. The two pitchers have stalled a bit, as Bryson has not made it past AA, and Jackson is now with his 2nd organization since going to Cleveland. Overall though, the Indians got better players than they likely would have with the draft picks.

July 31, 2008 - The Boston Red Sox trade OF Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and RP Craig Hansen and OF Brandon Moss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pittsburgh Pirates trade OF Jason Bayto the Boston Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers trade 3B Andy LaRoche and P Bryan Morris to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Red Sox had finally had enough of Manny being Manny, and in a deal that came together at nearly the very last minute, they shipped Manny to Hollywood (along with the money for his salary), and got back Jason Bay in return. The Pirates ended up receiving 4 players in the deal, 3 of whom were either Major-League ready, or very near it. Ramirez was a free agent at the end of the season, but Bay was signed through the 2009 season.

How Did It Turn Out?

With Mannywood open for business, the Dodgers won a weak NL West division with an 84-78 record. Manny was the team's MVP from the date of his acquisition, hitting .396/.489/.743 with 17 home runs and 53 runs batted in over the 2 months. The Dodgers lost in the NLCS to the eventual champs, the Phillies. Manny was also resigned after the season by the Dodgers to a 2 year, $45M contract.

The Red Sox got excellent production from Bay, as he hit .274/.380/.534 wth 41 home runs and 156 RBI in 200 games with Boston over the 1+ season he was there. The team made the playoffs both years (as wild cards), but did not advance to the World Series in either season. Bay left via free agency after the 2009 season, and netted the Sox two draft picks in the 2010 draft. These picks turned into Anthony Ranaudo and Brandon Workman, both pitchers currently in the Sox' organization.

July 29, 2009 - The Cleveland Indians trade SP Cliff Lee and OF Ben Francisco to the Philadelphia Phillies for IF Jason Donald, C Lou Marson, SP Carlos Carrasco, and SP Jason Knapp.

The Indians were faced with another ace starting pitcher who was unlikely to sign a contract extension, and made a preemptive move to trade Lee despite him being under contract for another full season. The move to get Lee by the Phillies was more to solidify than improve, as the team was already up 6 games in the division and coming off their 2008 World Championship.

How Did It Turn Out?

Lee pitched excellently over the final two months, helping lead the Phillies back to the World Series. They lost to the Yankees there unfortunately, and Lee was traded during the offseason to the Mariners. The move was made on the same day that the team acquired Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays.

The players the Indians received have not really turned into much yet, unfortunately. Carrasco has probably had the largest impact at the Majors, as he has made 30 starts over the last 3 seasons for the club. Donald and Marson are both looking like Quad-A types at this point unfortunately, unlikely to make a significant impact in the Big Leagues. Jason Knapp still has hope, as he is still just 20 years old. Unfortunately, he has missed all of the 2011 season due to shoulder surgery.

July 9, 2010 - The Seattle Mariners trade SP Cliff Lee and RP Mark Lowe to the Texas Rangers for 1B Justin Smoak, P Josh Lueke, P Blake Beavan, and IF Matthew Lawson

The Mariners had acquired Lee during the offseason in the hopes that their rotation led by Felix Hernandezwould be enough to carry them in a weaker AL West. Unfortunately, the team's offense wasn't even good enough to carry the best of pitchers, and they quickly fell out of the race. Free-agent-to-be Cliff Lee was the prize of the 2010 trade deadline, and went to the division-leading Rangers. The Rangers were in dire need of a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher if they were to have any hopes of getting past the first round.

How Did It Turn Out?

The Rangers' starting rotation was solidified with Lee at the top, and the Rangers cruised to the division title. They surprised everyone by defeating the Raysin the first round and then the Yankees to go to the World Series. The title went to the Giants though, and Lee left via free agency after the season.

The Mariners plugged Smoak in as their everyday first baseman, while Lueke and Beaven have both made their debuts in 2011. Lawson is no longer in the system, spending part of this season with the Indians AA affiliate. It still remains a bit early on how the Mariners did, but the future looks good.

Overall, we don't know yet who will be traded before next Sunday, but the odds are that there will be at least 1 player traded who has a major impact on the remainder of the pennant race for this season.