In baseball, as in any other professional sport, trades between teams shape a league. In fact, they're a very important part of the sports business, as they could turn a team around. A team like the Chicago Cubs can't be the exception, it's one of the organizations with a loyal fanbase who has gone through many things including the famous "curse of the goat" that saw them lose in the playoffs over and over and over again before finally winning it all in 2016.
However, the movements carried by its previous General Managers and the Team Owners have left much think about it. The drought over the years without winning was more than "a curse", it was a consequence of bad trades and moves, as they gave away some Hall of Famers. Today, TheSportster brings you the all-time 15 worst trades that contributed to making the Cubs a losing team for a long period of time. Play ball!
15 Traded: Ángel Pagán
Pagán is a versatile player who started his career with the Chicago Cubs in 2006. Although he only had a pair of seasons there, he couldn't develop his full potential, so he was traded to the New York Mets in 2008. With New York, he stayed for 4 seasons where he had very good offensive numbers, nevertheless, he was traded again in 2011 to the San Francisco Giants.
Pagán's career would take an unexpected turn as he would capture 2 World Series titles; in addition to leading the MLB in triples in 2012. His aggressive play style and opportune batting got him selected to the Puerto Rico national team that participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, obtaining the silver medal. He's definitely done well outside of Chicago.
14 Traded: Andy Pafko
Pafko's case is no different from what we've read so far, he played for the Chicago Cubs from 1943 to 1951. With the Cubs, he had excellent campaigns where he was voted 5 times to the All-Star Game (1945, 1497, 1948, 1949 and 1950) including a participation in the World Series of 1945.
Inexplicably, "Handy Andy" was traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 during the course of the season. He would remain there a couple of seasons in which he also managed to arrive at the World Series although he couldn't win it again. Nevertheless, his fortunes changed when Pafko went to the Milwaukee Braves, where he would win the 1957 World Series championship, defeating the New York Yankees in 7 games.
13 Traded: Jon Garland
Garland was drafted in 1997 by the Chicago Cubs with the 10th pick. In his stay in the minors, he had good numbers but he was traded to the Chicago White Sox during the deadline of the 1998 season.
Garland during his career was the secret weapon for several organizations in the majors, occupying a fixed position in the rotations of up to 6 teams. He was voted in 2005 for the All-Star Game, as he would go on to secure the World Series title with the Chicago White Sox in that very same season!
12 Traded: Jamie Moyer
The veteran left-handed pitcher who shined with the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, among other clubs was also a Cub. However, at Wrigley Field, they didn't see him as an ace in his starters rotation, so management decided to trade him in 1988 in a transaction that involved up to 9 players, as Moyer was sent to the Texas Rangers.
After this, Moyer with the confidence of his new club, managed to have widely outstanding performances including a constant evolution in his pitching form as it aged and lost speed. He had a long and prolific career winning 269 games, being voted for the All-Star Game in 2003, as well as also obtaining the Roberto Clemente Award the same year and a World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Not bad.
11 Traded: Dontrelle Willis
A little known case even by the Cubs fans themselves is that of Dontrelle Willis. Just as with Jon Garland, "D-Train" was originally drafted by the Cubs in the 2000 season and played in the minors for the affiliate team. He was traded to the Florida Marlins in 2002, where he would reach his potential after a slow start.
With the Marlins, Willis won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2003, and he would go on to win the World Series title in that same year. He was voted twice for the All-Star Game (2003, 2005), and led the national league in games won in 2005 with 22.
10 Traded: Sam Jones
In 1956, the Chicago Cubs decided to trade the starter right-handed pitcher Sam Jones (Yes, another pitcher). Jones had thrown a no-hit, no-run for the Cubs in the previous season. He made history as he became the first African-American to do so. Jones was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals before he would eventually make it on San Francisco Giants.
Upon leaving the windy city, Jones was voted twice to the All-Star Game (1955 and 1959) in addition to being the National League ERA and wins leader during the season of 1959. He also won the National League Strikeouts title on three different occasions in 1955, 1956 and 1958.
9 Acquired: Nomar Garciaparra
Garciaparra arrived in 2004 via trade from the Boston Red Sox during the deadline, coming as an established player with five selections to the All-Star Game (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003). Chicago finally had an elite player but his history in the windy city was very, very different.
Nomar signed a one-year contract that is worth $8.25 million to remain with the Cubs, but his performance was affected by his injuries. Eventually, he was let go as a free agent as he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the following season with his new team, Nomar batted for .303 with 20 HR and 93 RBI winning the NL Comeback Player of the Year and being voted for the All-Star Game.
8 Traded: Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson was selected in the 2007 draft first round by the Chicago Cubs as the 48th overall pick. He played with the affiliate team in the minors, putting up some good numbers but the Cubs management would trade him in 2008 to the Oakland Athletics for Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin. The rest is history.
Donaldson has been voted 3 consecutive times to the All-Star Game (2014, 2015 and 2016), has conquered the American League RBI and runs scored in 2015. He also obtained the Silver Slugger Award in 2015 and 2016, as well as the AL MVP in 2015. A trade that the Cubs certainly regret.
7 Traded: Bill Madlock
The "Mad Dog" arrived in Chicago in 1974 from the Texas Rangers; with the Cubs he left excellent offensive numbers, being voted in 1975 to the All-Star Game where he won the MVP and also got the National League Batting Title at the end of the season. His ability to hit remained intact averaging .339 with 15 HR and 84 RBI in 1976, obtaining his second batting title in his last year in Chicago.
In 1977, Madlock was traded to the San Francisco Giants who would later send him to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he was voted to 2 All-Star games (1981 and 1983), obtained two batting titles more (1981 and 1983) and won the World Series championship in 1979. Another bad play in the trades market for the Cubs.
6 Traded: Willie Hernández
The Aguada's native was part of the Chicago Cubs from 1977 to 1983 season when he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies by Dick Ruthven and Bill Johnson. With the Phillies, Hernández managed to play the World Series of that year although lost the title before the Baltimore Orioles.
His stay in the city of brotherly love was very short being that the Phillies would send him to the Detroit Tigers in 1984; where "Willie" achieved fantastic numbers by winning the American League MVP and Cy Young award. An excellent reliever who perhaps would have helped the Chicago Cubs, however, management decided to send him to another team and he reached the glory far away from Wrigley Field.
5 Traded: Lee Smith
Lee was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 1975 draft. He debuted with the club in 1980 and remained with the team until 1987. He was voted twice to the All-Star Game (1983 and 1987). In 1987 and to the surprise of Cubs fans and the baseball world, Smith was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Calvin Schiraldi and Al Nipper, he was there for a pair of seasons with ups and downs that would result in a new change, this time would arrive to Saint Louis in 1990.
With the Cardinals, Smith was voted to 3 All-Star Games (1991,1992 and 1993) in addition to achieving the Rolaids Relief Man Award on consecutive occasions (1991 and 1992) as well as another pair of saves leaderships (1991 and 1992). In 1994, he arrived in Baltimore where he's once again voted to an All-Star Game, gets his 4 title of saved games in addition to being awarded again with Rolaids Relief Man Award. At the end of the season, he signed with the California Angels where he had good numbers and is again selected for the All-Star Game, the seventh of his career. No doubt all these achievements could be useful to the Cubs, but...
4 Traded: Rafael Palmeiro
Palmeiro is one of the worst trades in the extensive Cubs history, being drafted by them in 1985, he debuted in the majors the following year leaving acceptable numbers in only 22 games. In 1987, Chicago gave him the opportunity to play more games during the season where he was able to bat for .276 with 14 HR and 30 RBI, and in his third (and final) year with the Cubs Palmeiro would hit .307 with 8 HR and 53 RBI. He was voted for the All-Star Game of that season and was the first runner-up in the race for the National League Batting Title behind Tony Gwynn, nevertheless, the Cubs had other plans for the Cuban sending him that same year to the Texas Rangers.
The rest is known, between the Rangers and Baltimore Orioles Rafael would become one of the most prolific players of his generation, being voted to the All-Star in 3 additional occasions (1991, 1998 and 1999) winning 3 consecutive times the American League Gold Glove Award as the best first baseman (1997, 1998 and 1999), and the Silver Slugger Award in 2 consecutive opportunities (1998 and 1999). So far the change looks pretty bad, right? It would become worse as Palmeiro became a member of the 500 HR and 3000 hits Club in the majors along with great figures like Eddie Murray, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Alex Rodríguez. What a slugger!
3 Traded: Bruce Sutter
Bruce Sutter is one of the best closers baseball has ever had, and his talent was at Chicago Cubs service, being voted to 4 in row All-Star Games (1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980), two consecutive National League saved games leaderships (1979 and 1980) in addition to winning the awards as National League Rolaids Relief Man Award and the Cy Young Award in 1979.
Despite his outstanding numbers, Sutter was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in December 1980. With the Cards, he finished fifth in the 1981 Cy Young race in addition to being voted up for 2 All-Star games (1981 and 1984), he garnered 3 more saved games titles (1981, 1982 and 1984). And if that was not enough, he was part of the 1982 World Series champion team, thanks to his outstanding performance, the Cardinals retired his number (42), in addition of being included to the organization Hall of Fame. Sutter would also be inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
2 Traded: Dennis Eckersley
I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes, the Cubs let Dennis Eckersley go. The mustache was in the Cubs for two and a half seasons and had acceptable numbers, however, management didn't see a promising future for him in the majors and traded him in 1987 to the Oakland A's, where he exploded and showed the baseball world what he was capable of. Eckersley participated in 4 All-Star games in addition to winning the ALCS MVP in 1988, the AL Rolaids Relief Man Award in 1988 and 1992, the AL MVP in 1992, the AL Cy Young award in 1992 and was an essential part in the 1989 A's World Series championship.
Eckersley was the most dominant closer of the Major Leagues from 1988 to 1992, finishing first of the American League in games rescued twice, second another two times and third once. He saved 220 games during these five years and never had a ERA greater than 2.96. During the 1990 season, he allowed only five clean runs, for a fabulous 0.61 ERA. Eckersley's control was always above average, conceding only three walks in 57.7 innings in 1989, four bases in 73.3 innings in 1990 and nine innings in 1991. In the 1990 season, he became the only (48 saves, 41 hits, 4 BB).
1 Traded: Lou Brock
If you had in your roster a player with the following characteristics: speed, opportunity sense and a very high base percentage, would you let him go? Your answer is probably no, unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, they did let go of the Hall of Fame member, Lou Brock. The outfielder was traded along with other players to the St. Louis Cardinals as he wasn't appreciated in Chicago as he should have been.
Brock was quick and effective in the base stealing, the catchers’ nightmare at the moment of leaving to the second base conquest. Brock kept the stolen bases all-time record (938) until he was outscored by Rickey Henderson. In 1974, he set the record for Major League Baseball stolen in a season with 118, this record was also surpassed by Henderson later on. The Cards inducted him into their Hall of fame and retired his number (20). Many of the older Cubs fans wonder what they would have done with Brock on the team.