I’m sitting here in a snow/ice storm in New York and if I have to watch one more clip of Rex Ryan on the news I am going to need some more Nyquil to cope. The Falcons are out of the playoffs, UGA is (thankfully) done with football and my beloved Wisconsin Badgers couldn’t pull out a win against TCU in the Rose Bowl. I have nothing to do but wait for spring training.
So, while I sit and wait to shovel more snow (I can’t even lift my arms above my head at this point) I am thinking about the Braves trade for Dan Uggla. It seems to me like it will go down as one of the best deals in recent Braves history; as long as he continues to play like Dan Uggla. It isn’t going to be a one-and-done deal for the Braves this time, since they signed him to a five-year extension. This got me to thinking…what category will this fall in; best or worst?
While, it will take time to determine the answer, here are my best and worst trades in recent history (I’m using the time since I’ve been born as recent history):
Let’s get fired up and relive some of the best:
10. Ricardo Rodriguez to the Royals for Matt Diaz. While Diaz wasn’t a superstar; he helped the Braves immensely the past few seasons. He killed left-handed pitching and single-handedly beat the Marlins on more than one occasion. And who is Ricardo Rodriguez anyway?
9. Damien Moss and Merkin Valdez to the SF Giants for Russ Ortiz. This isn’t a blockbuster, but Ortiz was the Braves’ ace in 2003 going 21-7 3.81 ERA. Ortiz seems to be overlooked because he didn’t blow hitters away and he wasn’t as precise as Maddux or Glavine, but during his two years in Atlanta he was a steal.
8. Jose Ascanio to the Cubs for Omar Infante and Will Ohman. Ascanio hasn’t been able to keep himself on a major league roster, while Omar Infante was a super utility man for the Braves and an All-Star in 2010. Will Ohman had a great year with the Braves in 2008, as their primary lefty out of the pen. Plus, Infante led to the Uggla deal!
7. Horacio Ramirez to the Mariners for Rafael Soriano. Soriano was a dominant reliever for the Braves for three years and was the primary closer in 2009, posting a 27 SV 2.95ERA. He wasn’t the best teammate (to put it mildly) but was a very valuable piece to the pitching staff. Maybe the best part of the deal was that the Braves TRADED HORACIO RAMIREZ!
6. Jimmy Kremers and Keith Morrison to the Expos for Boi Rodriguez and Otis Nixon. Well, I can honestly say I am not familiar with most of the names in this deal, but the one that we all recognize is a big one. Nixon was the Braves lead-off hitter, ace base stealer and Gold Glove caliber CF for the beginning of their 90’s run. He was the catalyst for the offense and is still loved by Braves fans.
5. Andy Marte to the Red Sox for Edger Renteria. Marte was a highly touted prospect for the Braves for a few years and the Braves moved him at the right time. He has never panned out and still isn’t a starter in the league. Renteria was one of the most valuable players for the Braves for 2 years. In 2006 he hit .293 14 HR 70 RBI and in 2007 .332 12 HR 57RBI. Whenever the Braves needed a big hit, it seemed like Edgar got it.
4. Edgar Renteria to the Tigers for Gorkys Hernandez and Jair Jurrjens. So here is Edgar again…He is just not an AL player, because after leaving Atlanta, he showed the same struggles as he did in Boston. In return the Braves got a good CF prospect (who didn’t pan out) and a young pitcher who is still one of the hottest young pitchers in the game. Jurrjens first year with the Braves was phenomenal, winning 13 games and posting a 3.68 ERA. He improved the next year by winning 14 games and posting a ridiculous 2.60 ERA. HE was hurt for a good part of last year, but I expect big things from the Curacao native in 2011.
3. Melvin Nieves, Vince Moore and Donnie Elliot to the Padres for Fred McGriff. What a deal! The Crime Dog came to Atlanta for three guys who may as well been bullpen catchers. He was just what the Braves needed; a clean-up hitter. He delivered time after time and is still (in my mind) the best first basemen the Braves have ever had.
2. Charles Thomas, Dan Meyer and Juan Cruz to the Athletics for Tim Hudson. This trade just wasn’t fair. The Braves got one of the best pitchers in the game for three guys who never really did anything in MLB. Sure Cruz and Meyer are still pitching out of the bullpen in the majors, but the Braves got Tim Hudson! He is still the Braves ace after a 2010 where he came back from Tommy John Surgery and, oh yeah, was a serious Cy Young candidate, going 17-9 2.83 ERA. Amazing trade!
1. Doyle Alexander to the Tigers for John Smoltz. Of course, we all know this is the deal of the century for the Braves. Alexander helped the Tigers in a pennant race and the Braves got one of the best pitchers of his era. A Cy Young award-winning starting pitcher or a dominating reliever, the Braves received a franchise player in this deal. It’s hard to imagine another deal that will ever pan out this well. We can only hope…
Now, let’s turn to the bad ones…Try not to get too depressed:
10. Steve Bedrosian to the Phillies for Ozzie Virgil. Bed Rock (who I swear works in the office next to me) was a good pitcher for the Braves in the early-mid 80’s. He was traded to the Phillies for the 1986 season for a catcher who, well let’s say was average. Bedrosian saved 29 games for Philadelphia in 1986 (not bad) and had a dominating year in 1987. He had 40 saves, a 2.83 ERA and won the Cy Young Award. Ozzie Virgil hit .247 that year and had a Topps baseball card.
9. Kevin Millwood to the Phillies for Johnny Estrada. OK, so this move had to be made because Greg Maddux surprisingly accepted the Braves arbitration offer, forcing them to shed salary. I get why they did it, and Estrada had a good year or two with the Braves, but it was still a bad trade in my mind. They traded a solid up and coming pitcher, which I always hate to see. Of course Millwood isn’t an ace, but he is a solid MLB pitcher. It probably would have worked out better if they had gotten Eric Estrada.
8. Anything that involved Kyle Farnsworth. In 2005 they traded Roman Colon and Zach Minor to the Tigers for Farnsworth, who had a good regular season for the Braves; let’s just leave it at that. Last season they apparently hadn’t learned their lesson as they acquired him in a 5-player deal at the trade deadline. I’m not going to go into stats and players involved. Farnsworth stinks—that’s it!
7. Bret Boone, Ryan Klesko and Jason Sheill to the Padres for Quilvio Veras, Reggie Sanders and Wally Joyner. This was just a mess all the way around. Veras was awful, Joyner was 68-years-old and Sanders couldn’t hit a beach ball. The Braves lost solid second basemen in Boone, a power threat in Klesko and Sheill, well, forget him. It made me sick as a fan of the guys that were traded and it made me sick to watch the guys play that came from San Diego. Just awful!
6. Jermaine Dye and Jamie Walker to the Royals for Keith Lockhart and Michael Tucker. Dye was a rookie for the 2006 season and showed a lot of promise. (That’s all I remember about the 2006 season by the way). As a teenager, I was a huge fan of Dye and was looking forward to see him develop into a superstar. I did get to see that, but it was for the Royals. Lockhart was a solid back-up and got some huge pinch hits. Tucker hit the first HR at Turner Field (that’s all I can say about him, he was average). I hated the deal when it happened and I really hate it now.
5. Dale Murphy and Tommy Greene to the Phillies for Jeff Parrett and Victor Rosario. This was the first time I ever cried about baseball. Dale Murphy was the face of the Atlanta Braves and my idol. He was all I and Braves fans had. I didn’t know much then (assuming I know anything now) but I knew this guy was what a baseball player looked like. He could hit, throw and run the bases well…he was the Braves. I get why they did it, an aging player that didn’t have many years left; and of course the Braves went to the World Series the next year. I would have loved to see him play in October, but it wasn’t in the cards.
4. Rick Behenna, cash and 2 players to be named to the Indians for Len Barker. I was 2 at the time, but the Braves where in a pennant race and needed a pitcher, so they got Len Barker. He was terrible for the Braves going 3-6 down the stretch. The reason this was so bad is that the 2 players to be named were Brett Butler and Brook Jacoby… two All-Star players. Jeez!
3. Jason Marquis, Ray King, Ray King’s gut and Adam Wainwright to the Cardinals for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. This is tough to think about. How nice would it be to have Wainwright in the Braves rotation?! Marquis never became the pitcher the Braves envisioned with them, but he did with the Cardinals. King was a solid lefty reliever, but Wainwright is the key to this deal. Sure Drew helped the Braves get to the playoffs, but was gone a year later. Adam Wainwright….Ouch!
2. Dave Justice and Marquis Grissom to the Indians for Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree. Two marquee names were gone for Kenny Lofton? He had a good year for the Braves, but was gone just as fast as he arrived. And he was a real jerk too! Embree was serviceable out of the pen, but Justice and Grissom were gone. It gave Andruw Jones a chance to play, but come on! I’d love to have this one back.
1. Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay. What can I say? Tex was awesome for two half-seasons, but the Braves traded the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for him. Feliz and Andrus are two stud players now and Teixeira got the Braves Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek. The only good thing that came from this was that Frank Wren’s mindset of not trading those types of players has been helped by this deal. I’d better leave it at that.
Well, we have a little over 3 weeks until pitchers and catchers report. Let’s try to get by until then…