The 9 Biggest MLB Trades of 2014
Let’s catch our collective breath after one of the busier trade deadlines in MLB history. There were some blockbuster trades, and the trades that weren’t epic more than made up for that fact with their numbers – there was a lot of action. Looking back to the end of last season, let’s run through the biggest trades we’ve seen since the last World Series, including yesterday’s barrage of moves that turned the trade deadline into the Boston Red Sox Show.
There are two ways to look at this trade that sent Dexter Fowler to Houston for Brendan Barnes and Jordan Lyles. One way to view this was Colorado divesting itself of a player that would have likely been overpriced, and even if he wasn’t, was eligible for arbitration that could have made him so. Another argument is, with outfielders getting what they are in the open market, and no clear replacement in the trade, that even if he wasn’t expensive, his replacement would be.
9. Rockies Trade Dexter Fowler
Okay. This might not be the sexiest entry on this list, but good trades aren’t always sexy. Sometimes, they’re just…good. This is one such trade. The Cards were able to score a decent bat and strong outfielder in exchange for David Freese. Freese is a comparable player, stats-wise, but the trade fit the Cards’ needs better, and they won’t be depending on the injury-ridden Bourjos to be in the field every night anyway.
8. Cardinals Get Bourjos
The Red Sox fire sale was in full swing on Thursday, as they sent veteran pitcher John Lackey to the Cardinals in exchange for…well, a fresh start, essentially. Despite being under a five-year $82 million contract, Lackey will only cost half a mil due to a clause that discounts an extra season should the starter have Tommy John surgery, which he did. The Sox will get Joe Kelly as the first piece in what should be a glistening new rotation come next April.
7. Lackey to the Cardinals
Even if Stephen Drew was only a moderately useful utility player or journeyman, he would probably still be due an appearance on this list just by virtue of the fact that he’s a Red Sox player heading to the Yankees. Sure, the Sox aren’t what they once were, so it’s not like this trade will affect them come October, but the balance of power can’t be far off. Stephen Drew isn’t exactly having a banner year (been hitting .176), but with the vacuum being created by Derek Jeter’s absence, it’s certainly…interesting. Drew could play shortstop, but early thoughts are that he’ll find a home at 2nd base.
6. Stephen Drew Goes from Red Sox to Yankees
No one really understands why the Nationals were able to hijack Doug Fister for so little, but in hindsight, it may not have been the wildly lopsided trade that it appeared to be. Fister fought off injury the first month of the season, and just this week snagged his 10th win. Not the commanding presence they thought he would be, but certainly an asset in a very strong D.C. pitching rotation.
5. Fister to Nationals
Mark Trumbo is one of the better power hitters in the league, but that didn’t necessarily make this trade a smart move for the D-Backs, who may have overpaid for a stat line without getting the whole package. Of course, the jury is still out on the value proposition that Trumbo serves and the opportunity cost to get him, but these days, with contracts being what they are, a true “value” is few and far between.
4. Trumbo to D-Backs
Ok. So this happened last November. But anything after the 2013 World Series, I’m pretty comfortable calling a 2014 trade. The Texas Rangers have learned that not every big trade can be a winner as they sent Ian Kinsler in exchange for Tigers slugger Prince Fielder and $30 million in cash to apply to his salary. A little over a month into the season, Prince was pulled for season-ending neck surgery, having amassed only 3 dingers and a piddling .247 average. Let’s not count him out, but nonetheless stick him in the “something to prove” category.
3. Prince Fielder to Rangers
A’s GM Billy Beane, never one to be trifled with when it comes to roster moves, has his fingerprints all over the Lester for Cespedes trade. The A’s ballsy move sent an All-Star outfielder to Boston in exchange for another starting pitcher who just happens to have a 2.52. It’s interesting to see if Beane made this move with the near-term in mind, or if they think they’re in it for the long haul. I guess a World Series victory would answer that question, but anything else would likely leave the masses guessing.
2. Lester and Gomes for Cespedes and Scrap
As notable as it is shipping one of the league’s best pitchers to a team in contention in late July, this trade is also extraordinary because it came in JUST under the wire today. That’s a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that 3 teams were involved (Tigers, Rays, Mariners). However, the enduring image from this trade may be GM Dave Dombrowski rattling the cage of Brad Ausmus in the dugout, letting him know that Austin Jackson needed to be pulled off the field immediately, because he’d been traded. At what point do you think Austin knew his card had been pulled? When he got the wave or on the way to the dugout?