Fantasy Baseball: Deadline deals can have many repercussions

Trading away a superstar could hurt or hinder a franchise for many years

Posted: Friday, August 04, 2006

The non-waiver trade deadline passed on Monday, and as usual there was plenty of action involving some of baseball's big names. Bobby Abreu and Greg Maddux were a few of the players who were traded to contenders in exchange for prospects.

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Trading away a superstar almost always upset the local fan base who have grown to cherish their hometown stars. Who can blame them for being upset to see them go? But the economics of the game must be taken into account. Often, teams know who they can and can't afford to sign come winter.

For teams with no shot at the playoffs, the trading market offers a chance to cash in on their big name players who will probably leave for free agency before next season. Teams will also move a veteran player if they have a younger, better alternative in their minor leagues.

Some of these prospect trades end up being incredibly lopsided. The 1990 Red Sox team dealt a little-known Double-A player named Jeff Bagwell to Houston for relief pitcher Larry Andersen. Andersen would go on to blow 3-of-4 save chances in the ALCS against the Athletics, while Bagwell evolved into a perennial All-Star in Houston.

On the flip side, a prospect can fizzle while the veteran helps lead their new team to postseason glory.

Such was the case for the Yankees in 2002 when Aaron Boone, a deadline acquisition, hit a dramatic walk-off home run to send New York to the World Series.

The reverberations of some trades can be felt for years after the initial players involved are gone.

In May 1989, Seattle dealt pitcher Mark Langston to Montreal for three pitching prospects.

This is the deal that brought Randy Johnson to Seattle. Also included were Brian Holman and Gene Harris, who pitched several years for Seattle.

Johnson went on to become the best pitcher to ever wear a Mariners uniform, but in 1998 - nearly a decade after general manager Woody Woodward struck the original deal - the Astros came calling with an offer the Mariners couldn't refuse.

Johnson was traded to Houston for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama.

The trade worked out well for Houston as Johnson pitched them to the playoffs where they fell to a Padres team led by the late Ken Caminiti.

For Seattle, Guillen played shortstop for that great 116-win team in 2001 which, ironically, came the year after the departure of another big star - Alex Rodriguez.

After six years with the club, Guillen was dealt to Detroit for utility infielder Ramon Santiago in 2004.

John Halama, a finesse pitcher, won 41 of 81 starts from 1998 to 2002 for the M's.

Freddy Garcia ended up being the best of the three players acquired for Johnson.

He got off to a great start, going 17-8 as a rookie in 1999. The young Venezuelan quickly became the staff ace and went on to win 76 games for Seattle over 5-plus years.

He was then traded at the deadline in 2004 to a hopeful Chicago White Sox team.

That trade brought in Jeremy Reed, Miguel Olivo and Michael Morse. There were high hopes for Olivo, but after hitting just .151 in 54 games he was shipped to Florida.

Reed is currently on the disabled list with a broken thumb and Morse has hit .287 for the club over the past two seasons.

In all, 10 players came to Seattle because the Mariners were willing to give up four months of Langston in 1989 - knowing he'd probably sign elsewhere as a free agent the following season.

The pitchers involved in the above trades have yielded 281 wins and over 4,100 innings spanning the past 17 years. Add in the contributions of Guillen, Reed and Morse, and that is a truly amazing haul for a pitcher who had a 4-5 record at the time of the trade.



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