This year’s class is a graveyard of bad trades.
Of course, Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson is probably among the worst trades ever. The ultimate reliever-rental-dumpster-fire of a deal. But here’s one you might not have remembered:
1988: Cubs send Rafael Palmeiro, Jamie Moyer, and Drew Hall to Texas for Luis Benitez, Pablo Delgado, Paul Kilgus, Curtis Wilkerson, Mitch Williams, and Steve Wilson. Palmeiro (#22) and Hall (#3) were both first-rounders, and Moyer was selected in the sixth. But evidently they valued quantity… Benitez, an 18-year old infielder with a good batting eye but no other discernible skills famed out by age 20 without getting out of low-A. Delgado was an 18 year old lottery ticket who hit about .180 for two years and couldn’t get out of rookie league ball. Kilgus, a former 43rd round selection, was a 27 year-old, soft-tossing lefty with spotty command. Wilkerson, a fourth round pick, had a 68 career OPS+ in six seasons before the deal. Williams had, uh, trouble with location and was just a reliever. Wilson, the real jewel from the Cubs’ perspective, was a fourth rounder who had some promise. In other words, the Cubbies decided they’d rather deal Palmer’s 23 year-old All-Star bat (120 OPS+ through age 23 and a guy who was probably their 3rd starter of the future plus a big-league ready arm (Hall) for the contents of the Rangers’ junk drawer plus Steve Wilson. Blech.
Here’s another one that didn’t work out so well, though it’s hard to blame the Reds too much. In 1983, they dealt John Franco and minor leaguer Brett Wise to the Reds for the immortal Rafael Landestoy. Landestoy played in 117 games with the Dodgers, batted 124 times, and was worth -0.9 WAR. But Wise never made the show, and Franco had been a complete dud in the minors. In fact, it’s something short of miraculous that a guy with his epic fail numbers in the minors contributed in the big leagues let alone nabbed 424 saves.
Think the Jays might want this one back? They dealt John Olerud’s 1997 walk year for the Mets’ Robert Person. Olerud, away from Cito Gaston, rejuvenated his career in Flushing while Person went about flushing his down the toilet. The 6.18 ERA he posted in his 177 innings with Toronto “earned” him -1.8 WAR in parts of three seasons.
You can’t take ’em back.
F= Hall of Fame member
M = Hall of Merit member
S = Hall of Stats member
NEW FOR 2011
Jeff Bagwell (M,S)
Kevin Brown (M,S)
John Olerud (S)
Rafael Palmeiro (M,S)
Larry Walker (M,S)