Trades are a routine part of professional baseball. Roster construction is a delicate balancing act that requires input from owners, general managers, managers, and the players themselves. Trades can be made for a variety of reasons, but every team seeks to improve with every acquisition that they make. In an ideal world, every trade would be mutually beneficial to both teams involved, however that is certainly not the case in the trades mentioned below.
Lopsided trades have been a part of baseball since the earliest days of the Major Leagues. Teams are constantly attempting to improve in order to compete for the World Series, while others look to stockpile prospects with a goal to succeed in the future. Whatever the reason a front office has for making a trade, it is always with the best interest of the team in mind. However, the effects of some of trades have left a lasting legacy on teams.
Several teams on the winning side of these trades have gone on to achieve greatness . World Series winners were made as a result of some of these deals. If the teams that traded future Hall of Famers away had known the greatness they possessed, it is unlikely they would have made the trades in the first place. Hindsight is always 20/20, but several of these deals appear much worse when viewed from a historical perspective.
15 Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps
14 Mark McGwire for T.J. Mathews, Blake Stein, Eric Ludwick
13 Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen
12 Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, and Brandon Phillips for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew
11 Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb
10 Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Four Others
9 Kenny Lofton for Ed Taubensee
8 Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano for A.J. Pierzynski
7 Frank Robinson for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun, and Dick Simpson
6 Nolan Ryan and Three Others for Jim Fregosi
5 John Smoltz for Doyle Alexander
4 Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio
3 Christy Mathewson for Amos Rusie
2 Pedro Martinez for Delino Deshields
The Los Angeles Dodgers traded away a 22-year-old Pedro Martinez for infielder Delino DeShields. DeShields never batted above .300 or hit more than 11 home runs in any of his thirteen seasons in the Major Leagues, while Martinez developed into one of the most dominant pitchers of any era. Three years later Martinez won the first of his three career Cy Young Awards. Martinez went on to be a crucial part of the 2004 Boston Red Sox that won the World Series. Martinez is blessed by stat-heads as one of the best pitchers of the live-ball era, and he boasts the second highest winning percentage of any pitcher ever.
1 Babe Ruth for $100,000
Babe Ruth holds an indelible place in baseball lore as a crucial part of the Murderer’s Row lineup of the New York Yankees. Ruth initially played for Baltimore before he was purchased by the Boston Red Sox. Red Sox owner Harry Frazee was a theatrical producer that regularly needed money to finance his productions. This is still not 100% certain, but during one of those moments, he sold the greatest player in baseball history for $100,000 to finance No, No, Nanette. Ruth soon became one of the most prolific home run hitters in history and the Curse of the Bambino lasted until 2004.
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