The annual trade deadline that occurs every July brings along one of the most exciting times of a Major League Baseball season. During the weeks and days before the deadline, the internet becomes a haven for potential trade rumors linking big-name players with different teams. That was the case in 2015 when the New York Mets were looking to pull the trigger on a move that could help the club potentially advance to the playoffs. It took some time and also a failed deal, but the Mets eventually landed their man in Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes helped the Mets win the National League East and make a journey all the way to the World Series.
That trade obviously worked out well for the Mets and the Mets will be hoping that Cespedes will continue to be a positive for the club in 2016 and after the current MLB season. For every Cespedes-to-the-Mets transaction, however, there have been all kinds of MLB trades that never should have been made in the first place. Many of these terrible trades have included some of the biggest stars in the game at given periods. In some cases, it is almost hard to believe that somebody tasked with running a club could make such a disastrous decision that would not, after the fact, even be considered by a wise individual.
The best example of a MLB trade that never should have been made, of course, is one that included arguably the greatest player in the history of the game, a man who has been an American icon for nearly a century. Without further ado, here are Top 15 MLB Trades That Never Should Have Been Made.
15 Reds trade Paul Konerko to White Sox
This is one of those MLB trades where you just have to shrug your shoulders over what happened. The Cincinnati Reds actually traded Paul Konerko to the Chicago White Sox for Mike Cameron. Cameron had a lengthy career in the Big Leagues, but his stop in Cincinnati lasted only a year before he moved on to the Seattle Mariners. Konerko, as diehard Chicago fans know, became a cornerstone for a White Sox team that won the World Series and the White Sox have honored him by retiring his number. This will not be the last time the Reds are featured in this piece.
14 A's trade Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals
You can say whatever you want about the success that Mark McGwire had after he joined the St. Louis Cardinals from the Oakland Athletics. There is no reason to believe that McGwire could not have had a “resurgence” with Oakland and there is no denying that the trio of T.J. Mathews, Eric Ludwick, and Blake Stein did not give the A's what McGwire could have provided the club had Oakland never made this move. Remember, also, that McGwire could have made the switch to designated hitter with Oakland, which could have possibly kept him healthier during the latter days of his career.
13 Reds trade Frank Robinson to the Orioles
This is an example of somebody, Cincinnati Reds owner Bill DeWitt to be exact, trying too hard to be too smart. The Reds traded Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for a package that included pitcher Milt Pappas. Robinson proved to DeWitt and to any doubters that he was more than “not a young 30,” winning a World Series Most Valuable Player award and helping Baltimore win a pair of championships. Robinson showed in Baltimore that he had plenty left in the tank when he was in his 30s and fans of the Reds were understandably outraged over the deal. Poor Mr. Pappas never had a chance in Cincinnati.
12 Padres trade Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar to the Blue Jays
Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays may view this as the best trade in the history of the club. Those who follow the San Diego Padres probably don't feel the same way. Both Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar helped the Blue Jays win back-to-back world titles in the early 1990s. In return, the Padres acquired Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff. Fernandez was a positive during his two years with the Padres, while McGriff did not stay in San Diego long before he was traded to the Atlanta Braves. The Padres were undeniably the big losers of this trade that never should have been made.
11 Mariners trade Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to Red Sox
The Seattle Mariners were looking to get some bullpen help in order to hang with the likes of the Cleveland Indians in 1997 when the club traded Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Boston Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb. Slocumb was largely a bust for the Mariners, while both Lowe and Varitek helped the Red Sox end their World Series drought in 2004. Additional salt in the open wound is that the Mariners did not come all that close to winning a championship with Slocumb on the roster. Seattle tried to hit a home run with this trade, but the Mariners instead grounded out into a double play.
10 Tigers trade John Smoltz to the Braves
It is nice that Doyle Alexander helped the Detroit Tigers make it to the postseason. What isn't so nice for Detroit is that the price for Alexander was a young pitcher named John Smoltz. Smoltz went on to become one of the key members of that legendary Atlanta rotation that included Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and that gave hitters fits during the 1990s. While his time as a starter would have been enough to get Smoltz into the Hall of Fame, Smoltz also showed that he was capable of being a tremendous closer. Smoltz could have been one of the best pitchers in the history of the Tigers. Whoops.
9 Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to the Astros
You probably remember Jeff Bagwell as a tremendous batter who may, depending on your stance regarding the matter, have a questionable Hall of Fame resume. Larry Andersen, meanwhile, spent a very short amount of time with the Boston Red Sox after he was acquired in the trade that sent Bagwell from the Red Sox to the Houston Astros. The only way that this trade could be justified is if Andersen would have helped the Red Sox win a World Series. That did not happen, though, and thus the Red Sox never should have dealt Bagwell away.
8 Astros trade Curt Schilling to Phillies
Say whatever you will about what Curt Schilling has been on social media up through the spring of 2016. Schilling proved that the Houston Astros made a big mistake when the Astros traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Grimsley. Grimsley was barely a player for the Astros before he and Houston parted ways, while Schilling found new life and his best stuff after landing in Philadelphia. Schilling had numerous memorable moments while with the Phillies, although it could be argued that he was even better after he left the Phillies in 2000. Either way, the Astros should have worked on helping Schilling develop rather than just giving up on the ace.
7 Phillies trade Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs
In some circles, this is seen as one of the worst trades in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. What is funny about this deal is that the Chicago Cubs originally viewed Ryne Sandberg as an add-on in a deal for Larry Bowa. For those two players, the Phillies in return received Ivan DeJesus. DeJesus was with the Phillies for only a few years, while Sandberg became a star both at the plate and in the field. Sandberg is now considered one of the greatest second basemen in the history of the league and also one of the best players in the long history of the Cubs.
6 Dodgers trade Pedro Martinez to the Expos
The Montreal Expos did manage to make some smart moves during the team's run in MLB. On the other end of this trade was the Los Angeles Dodgers, who traded Pedro Martinez to the Expos for Delino DeShields. DeShields had a thoroughly forgettable run while with the Dodgers and odds are that you may only remember him because of his unique name. Martinez went from being a good pitcher to a dominant force after joining the Expos, and Martinez then went on to help the Boston Red Sox win a World Series. Fans of the Dodgers can only imagine what could have been had Martinez remained out west.
5 Pirates trade Jose Bautista to the Blue Jays
Jose Bautista was struggling to impress while in the system of the Pittsburgh Pirates when the Buccos traded Bautista for a player to be named later. That player turned out to be Robinzon Diaz, who is mostly remembered by Pittsburgh fans because of the fact that he was acquired in the Bautista trade. Bautista, on the other hand, has been a superstar while with the Blue Jays and he gave fans a true moment to remember when he famously flipped his bat after launching a home run during a playoff game in October 2015. While the Pirates have righted the ship, it is easy to understand why the team struggled for as long as it did when you examine moves like this. Woof.
4 Cubs Trade Lou Brock to the Cardinals
There is an unwritten rule in sports that a team should never trade any player to a rival club. The Chicago Cubs were reminded of this when they completed a deal that involved Lou Brock joining the St. Louis Cardinals. Brock, who was lackluster while with the Cubs, found his form with the Cardinals in the summer of 1964, and Brock had a major role in the Cardinals rallying back in the standings and catching – you guessed it – the Cubs en route to winning the division. Brock went on to have a Hall of Fame career after making the move to St. Louis. The Cubs, meanwhile, are still seeking the team's first World Series title since 1908. Ouch.
3 Expos Trade Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens to the Indians
We now know that the Montreal Expos were just a couple of years from being relocated to Washington when the team traded Cliff Lee, Grazy Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. Neither Colon nor Drew made a big impact for the Expos. Lee, meanwhile ultimately became a Cy Young pitcher and one of the best southpaws of his generation. Phillips evolved into an All Star after he joined the Cincinnati Reds. Grady Sizemore was beloved among Cleveland fans even though he was often hurt. Looking back, it is almost hard to believe that the Indians couldn't win a title last decade.
2 Reds Trade Christy Mathewson to the Giants
Well before he became a superstar pitcher, Christy Mathewson was a struggling young player who was given up on by the New York Giants and then picked up by the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds were clearly not all that impressed, as the club shipped Mathewson back to the Giants for Amos Rusie. While Rusie had been a great pitcher during his prime, his best days were well behind him when he was traded for Mathewson. Mathewson, meanwhile, became one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history and also one of the first pitchers ever inducted into the Hall of Fame.
1 Red Sox Trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees
It is a trade that changed the destinies of two different MLB franchises, one that has been documented in numerous television specials and books. The Boston Red Sox dealt Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees because then-Boston owner Harry Frazee wanted to fund what became the inspiration for the Broadway show No, No, Nanette. Frazee got his show and the Yankees received a player who helped make the Yankees the most dominant sports franchise on the continent. It goes without saying that the Red Sox made a terrible mistake when they traded Ruth and it took roughly 90 years for the Red Sox to recover from the move.