I was flipping through my 2012 Red Sox Media Guide
yesterday. (I do that sometimes just to see what interesting things I didn’t
notice before.) I like to look at the transactions section for each player.
It’s interesting to look back and see what deals a player might have been
involved in earlier in his career before he became a Red Sox. I noticed that
Matt Albers was involved in a trade for Miguel Tejada. Albers, Mike Costanzo,
Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate, and Luke Scott went to Baltimore in exchange for
Tejada five years ago. I chuckled as I saw the list of names. Even though
Tejada wasn’t exactly an MVP in Houston, I didn’t see anyone on that list of
names that would make me think Houston regretted the deal. It was a five for
one, and I still think Houston would do it again if they had the chance.
That’s always been my argument when I hear people who want
to hold onto the future. Why? How many times does a team really regret doing
that? I always think about trading Pavano and Armas for Pedro. Or, Hanley
Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Beckett. Even when the youngsters turned out to
be solid players (or in Ramirez’s case, MVP caliber) I don’t regret giving them
up. But, maybe I was only remembering the good deals. So, I decided to flip through
the media guide, and see what deals were listed. Were there any “prospects for
star” deals that I think the teams regretted giving up the prospects?
I found eleven deals I felt were in that category. I didn’t
count minor transactions. So and so plus a PTBNL for a middling guy. I was
looking for obvious cases of selling the farm for a “star.” Did any of the
teams regret giving up the prospects? Again, this certainly isn’t every deal
ever made. But, I figured it was a good random sample from a random cross
section of teams.
In November 2003, the Phillies acquired Billy Wagner. To do
so, they gave up Brandon Duckworth, Taylor Buchholz, and Ezequiel Astacio. I’m
not a Phillies fan, but I think that ten years later, they’d make that deal
again in a heartbeat. I don’t see a name on that list that I wouldn’t give up
The Phillies were involved in the other side of a deal when
they traded away Curt Schilling at the 2000 deadline. In return, the
Diamondbacks sent them Vicente Padilla, Omar Daal, Nelson Figuera, and Travis
Lee. Of course, the D-Backs went on to win the World Series the next year. I
don’t imagine that anyone in Arizona regrets giving up on the youngsters.
Nor, I imagine, do they regret trading for Randy Johnson
almost seven years later. To get the Big Unit from NY, they had to part with
Ross Ohlendorf, Albert Gonzalez, Stephen Jackson, and Luis Vizcaino. I suspect
they’d do that again in a heartbeat.
Ohlendorf didn’t stay with the Yankees long. He was packaged
with Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, and Jose Tabata for Xavier Nady and
Damaso Marte at the 2008 Deadline. Do Yankees fans regret this? Maybe. They
Yanks didn’t get much from their ends. But, it’s not like the McCutchen they
gave up as Andrew. Probably a wash.
You want a slam-dunk trade? Andrew miller was packaged in a
deal from Detroit along with Cameron Maybin, Eulogio De La Cruz, Burke
Badenhop, Dallas Trahern, and Mike Rabello. In return, the Tigers got Dontrelle
Willis and Miguel Cabrera. Anyone in Detroit regret getting the reigning Triple
A deal that’s probably too soon to analyze is the one the
Sox did a couple Decembers ago. They send Josh Reddick, Raul Alcantara, and
Miles Head to the A’s for Jeff Bailey and Mike Sweeney. Early returns aren’t
great for the Sox. Reddick played out of his mind, while Bailey was injured.
Doesn’t look like a great move at the moment, but I’m not willing to say that
One trade that I don’t know what to make of is when the
Braves acquired Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay from the Rangers at the 2007
Deadline. They had to give up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrews, Neftali
Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones. Andrews and Feliz would go on to become
key members of the Rangers World Series teams. Teixeira would lead his new team
to a ring too. Unfortunately for Braves fans, it was when he joined the
Yankees. So, I think the Braves fans may regret this one.
Then we come to Adrian Gonzalez. He has four such trades on
In 2003 the Marlins included him in a package with Will
Smith and Ryan Snare in order to get Ugueth Urbina from Texas at the 2003
deadline. The quick answer is that Marlins fans would be fine with this since
the fish won the World Series that season. Plus, there has to be a reason you
would dump your number one overall pick from 2000 just three years later. But,
I’m guessing that the Marlins would like Gonzalez back. (Assuming they would
have kept him.)
Three years later, Gonzalez was shipped off to San Diego
along with Chris Young and Termel Sledge. In return, the Rangers got Adam
Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killan. Looks like a bad move. But, the
Rangers needed pitching…and still had Teixeira at first.
I’m going to count the two moves involving Boston as too
close to call. At the very least, almost a wash. In reality, the Sox gave up a
few prospects, and ended up with a few prospects. We’ll see how that all turns
out. Does Anthony Rizzo make the Hall of Fame? Can Pedro turn De La Rosa into a
Cy Young candidate? Only time will tell.
What’s my point? Do I need a point? It’s this. I found
eleven “prospects for star” in my random sample. Three of them are too soon to
really evaluate. Of the other four, I think that four are no question good
trades for the team giving up the prospects. That’s half. The other four? The
Marlins trading away Gonzalez is probably a good move, under the circumstances.
The SD/TEX Gonzalez and Nady trades might be a wash. Only the Braves haul to
get Teixeira was clearly regrettable. That’s one. Out of eight. And, some might
still say that at the time it was worth the risk.
So, the point? Why do the Sox feel the need to hold onto
their prospects like they’re solid gold? Only once in this sample was it a bad
deal to dump prospects. No, obviously, I don’t mean you dump them whenever you
can. But, to get a star for prospects should be a easy call.
Imagine what the Sox could get for Bogaerts and Bradley.