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Wednesday, August 7, 2002
Updated: August 12, 12:19 PM ET
Readers: Worst deadline trades

From the Page 2 mailbag

Earlier this week, Page 2 listed its choices for the 10 worst baseball deadline trades of all time, but as usual, we wanted your take.

Curt Schilling
Curt Schilling's no longer with the Astros, but his dominating form continues to anger O's fans.
We received more than 425 e-mails, proving that haste makes waste. Here is how Page 2 readers ranked MLB's worst deadline trades in history. Note that this excludes plenty of bad deals made in the offseason, such Cleveland sending Brian Giles to Pittsburgh for Ricard Rincon. We had to eliminate those votes, of course.

Be sure to vote in the poll at right to crown the worst deal of them all.

1. Orioles send Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley to Astros for Glenn Davis (53 letters)
You want free drinks in Baltimore? All you have to do is start a conversation complaining about Glenn Davis. It's like visiting Boston, bumping into The Sports Guy and saying, "Roger Clemens is a bum." Next thing you know, the whole bar is buying your rounds for the rest of the night.

The O's sent Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling (yes, the Curt Schilling) to the Astros for Glenn Davis. I'll repeat -- an All-Star outfielder, a decent pitcher (who had some issues, but anyway) and the NL pitcher of dominance to the Astros for a veteran (read: old man getting paid too much money).

Davis' claim to fame in Baltimore is getting his jaw broken in a bar room brawl after being here a week! That's right, not only did the man lose us some major prospects but he didn't even play because he got his butt whooped in a bar fight.
Greg Kushto
Baltimore

Glenn Davis was supposed to hammer homers out of newly built Camden Yards but a broken jaw and one bad back later, and he was out of the bigs within several years. Biggest waste of space with which the Orioles have ever dealt (and yes, that includes Al Belle because we didn't trade away an arm and a leg to get him).

Finley and Schilling -- their accomplishments are too many to mention, as they both now have World Series rings to their credit, and Schilling seems to keep getting better with age. Harnisch, though he had his troubles with chewing tobacco, still had a semi-productive and long career with the 'Stros and Reds before hanging it up. Birds made a big mistake here.
Patrick Delaney
Baltimore


2. Red Sox send Jeff Bagwell to Astros for Larry Andersen (48 letters)
Jeff Bagwell
Deception can be crucial in a fantasy baseball draft.
The Larry Anderson for Jeff Bagwell trade was the worst trade ever. Unless, of course, you are an Astros fan. Now, the Astros did give up one of the greatest baseball wits of all time in Larry. He was fond of raising questions like, "Why do you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?" and "How does a fly, flying right side up, land on the ceiling upside down?" Perhaps the greatest ponderance here though is why did the Red Sox deal a future Hall-of-Famer for Larry Anderson?
Paul N. Henry
Houston

You never ever trade anything of value for a couple months of a middle reliever. Middle relievers are a dime a dozen in AAA; the Braves prove this year after year. Use your best minor league talent here, the ones you've paid for through drafting, signing and scouting. Your trade investment should bear more fruit than a three-month CD.
Cris Whetstone
Redondo Beach, Calif.

Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen was not only the worst deadline trade ever, it was the worst trade period! Several years ago, during a visit to Houston from my Boston hometown, the natives were teasing me about my accent. I told them, "Be nice to me, we gave you Jeff Bagwell." The teasing stopped, and the sympathy began. How degrading!!

I remember Peter Gammons on "Baseball Tonight" shortly after the trade was made saying that the Red Sox just traded away a future batting champion. He was pretty prophetic, wouldn't you say? Imagine, if you will, an infield of Mo Vaughn, Nomar and Bagwell with Pedro anchoring the staff -- maybe the Sox (instead of the Yankees!) would have won 125 games in 1998. Ahh, the "should-have-beens" and "what-if" woes of us Sox fans. They make make life so interesting, but so very painful. Thanks, Lou!!!
Mike Elseroad
Virginia Beach, Va.

3. Mariners send Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to Red Sox for Heathcliff Slocumb (36 letters)
Imagine if Boston hadn't ripped off the M's like that ... the Sox would be struggling to beat out Tampa Bay for divisional basement right now, while Seattle would find themselves in October, lazed out on beaches of the Caribbean after their second consecutive World Series win.
Eric Levine
Stoughton, Mass.

The Slocumb-Varitek-Lowe deal is the worst, not just because of the glaring inequities of the trade but also because this swap came on the same day the Mariners traded Jose Cruz, Jr. for Paul Spoljaric and Mike Timlin. So, let's see: Cruz, Jr., Varitek and Lowe for what? Squat. To make matters worse, Seattle re-signed Slocumb to a one-year, $3 million deal to where he promptly saved a grand total of three games. At a mil per, that's quite a pickup, wouldn't you say?
Jim Guthrie
Tumwater, Wash.

4. Rangers deal Sosa, Alvarez and Fletcher to White Sox for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique (30 letters)
On July 29, 1989, the Rangers acquired infielder Fred Manrique and DH Harold Baines from the White Sox for shortstop Scott Fletcher, pitcher Wilson Alvarez and a 20-year-old rookie named Sammy Sosa. During his presidential campaign, former Rangers owner George W. Bush called this "the biggest mistake of his adulthood."
Mike Klug
Houston

The Rangers were trying to get some middle lineup support and thought the ageless one, Harold Baines, could provide it -- it didn't work. Baines was only a DH and didn't have much else to offer. The Rangers didn't win a divisional until seven years later. Wilson Alvarez pitched a no-hitter in his first start for the Sox (after getting no one out in his first and only start for the Rangers). Then there's Sammy ... there's nothing to say other than at least the White Sox knew what they had and they still sent him to the Cubs!
Roger Northup
Irving, Texas

5. Expos send Randy Johnson, Brian Holman and Gene Harris to Mariners for Mark Langston (26 letters)
1989: The Montreal Expos were in the thick of the National League (East) Pennant race (as they frequently were before 1994). The 'Spos gave up on some tall, young and control-plagued left-hander named Randy Johnson to obtain Mark Langston.

The Expos finished 81-81 that year, good for fourth in the division, with Langston posting a 12-9 record (175 K's in 176.2 innings) with a solid 2.39 ERA in 24 starts for Nos Amours, then bolted to the Angels in 1990. Johnson? Oh, he has pretty much done nothing since that trade except win 213 games for the Mariners, Astros and Diamondbacks, whilst striking out a mere 3,587 K's in 2,874.1 innings (11.23 per 9 innings). Oh yes, and he's won four Cy Young awards.

The sad-sack story of the Expos can't be traced to this single deal, but that faint sound you hear is the dozens of Expos fans still grumbling over this one!
Lenny Godel
Toronto

6. Cubs trade Lou Brock to Cards for Ernie Broglio (21 letters)
This trade has all the elements of a all-time classic lopsided deal ... Loyalty -- Brock finished his career with the Cards, all 16-plus years remaining. Vital cog on a World Series winner (twice). Hall of Fame credentials -- Brock retired as the all-time stolen base leader. The player he was traded for saw his skills fall off the planet soon after.

Bagwell has the numbers but hasn't been to the Series. McGriff has the numbers (he should eclipse 500 homers if plays in 2003) and he helped Atlanta win the Series but he isn't finishing his career there. Cone doesn't have the numbers (in my opinion) but was the vital cog. Smoltz could challenge if he is the second coming of Dennis Eckersley as he appears to be, but for now, Brock is the one who has all the elements.
Paul Carter
New Hope, Minn.

Brock for Broglio, hands down. Somebody asked Stan "The Man" Musial in 1964 whether he wished he had waited one more year to retire (which he did in 1963). Musial responded, "If I hadn't retired, we wouldn't have won the pennant in 1964, because we wouldn't have traded for Lou Brock." (The McGwire trade rates second in my book ... the only note you guys neglected to mention in that deal was the number of tickets sold by the Cardinals during Big Mac's tenure!)
Keith Merritt
Jonesboro, Ark.

7. Mets send Tom Seaver to Reds for four players (18 letters)
As a long time Mets fan, the worst deadline trade would have to be what is known here as the "Midnight Massacre," June 15, 1977. They decimated what had become the first successful expansion franchise by trading the greatest player in Mets history to date, Hall-of-Fame pitcher Tom Seaver, to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman; and on the same day trading their only legitimate power hitter, Dave Kingman, to the San Diego Padres for Paul Siebert and a utility player by the name of Bobby Valentine.

While Seaver posted 122 of his 311 career wins after the trade, Zachry made the All-Star team the next year, then broke his foot kicking the dugout after giving up a hit to Pete Rose to set the NL hit-streak mark and was never the same; Flynn was a Gold Glove, no-hit infielder; Henderson was runner-up for Rookie of the Year to Andre Dawson, then reverted to mediocrity for three seasons before he was traded, and Norman never amounted to more than a bench-sitter.

Of all six players the Mets acquired that day, only Valentine had any lasting impact in the organization, and that was only as a coach and manager.
Jeff Lerner
Long Island, N.Y.

This trade darn near destroyed my youth. Seaver was the heart of the Mets and was dealt because of a salary dispute, with Daily News columnist Dick Young siding with management and doing its dirty work. It took the team nearly a decade to recover from this disaster. The players acquired weren't horrible. Flynn won a Gold Glove, Zachry made a couple of All-Star teams and Henderson was runner-up to Andre Dawson for the Rookie of the Year. But Seaver was the Mets.
Dave Murray
Grand Rapids, Mich.

8. Yankees send Jay Buhner to Mariners for Ken Phelps (14 letters)
Frank Costanza: "How could you have traded Buhner for Ken Phelps?"

I have asked myself the same question for years, and as much as I liked Jay Buhner as a player, I was happy to see him retire after being a Yankee killer for over a decade. I have been a Yankee fan from age eight, after their debacle in the 1981 World Series against the Dodgers. I was razzed growing up in New Jersey through the 1980s, a 10-year period when the Mets were good, and the Yankees were horrible! And the reason they were so bad? Because they made horrible trades for overrated, overpriced players like Ken Phelps and Danny Tartabull.

(The one player they could have traded -- Kevin Maas -- fizzled after they didn't trade him) And that brings me back to Jay Buhner. I still have images of that shaved head, pulling off acrobatic catches in right field of Yankee Stadium, only he was wearing a Mariners uniform. I recall him crushing home runs over the short porch at Yankee Stadium, again wearing an M's uni.

One can only imagine how many homers he would have had if he played his career as a Yankee (but sadly, like Mattingly, he may have never known a World Series because of the stupid trades of the 1980s). Ugh, one of the worst trades ever.
Marcus
Albany, N.Y.

9. Tigers send John Smoltz to Braves for Doyle Alexander (12 letters)
Ok, so at the time Doyle Alexander was the answer for the Tigers who were making a run at the pennant, but the run was LATE in the season (in May they were below .500). John Smoltz was a Detroit native and wished he could stay and play for the home team -- alas, he couldn't. Five years later in 1992, he becomes an ace while the Tigers were wondering why they were beginning to stink up the place up. Ten years later -- they're still wondering!
Armen Terjimanian
Troy, Mich.

Thanks for John Smoltz, Detroit! The gift that keeps on giving.
Todd
Marietta,Ga.

A trade that looked solid for all of a few months as the great Tiger decline began. We've never been the same since.
Tom
Chicago


10. Astros send Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama to Mariners for Randy Johnson (10 letters)
Whenever prospects are overlooked in trades, you have to look to this trade as an example. Sure, Randy Johnson is one of the best lefties in history, but Houston's history with him wasn't long enough to even out this trade.

Freddy Garcia is one of the best young pitchers in the bigs, John Halama is a very good fourth or fifth starter for the Mariners, and could be higher on a staff with less depth. Carlos Guillen is a solid shortstop who definitely fills A-Rod's place well.

I guess the 116 wins last year proves that trading a great player from a "dynasty" (that constantly underachieved despite Junior, A-Rod, and Randy among others) can be beneficial when you nab a superstar such as Garcia, and two solid guys you can trust in a tough situation.

Ernie Broglio was supposed to be good for years to come. Randy for a year. Houston paid the price for his two and a half months of work in the form of what appears to be winning seasons for years to come.
John F.
St. Louis

Garcia and Halama were on the 2000 team that won the wild card and 91 games. They, along with Guillen, were on the 2001 team that tied the record for winning the most games in MLB history. Randy Johnson's team won 85 games, but won their division, the NL pennant, and most importantly, toppled my New York Yankees.

Sounds good for the Astros, right? Not really. Johnson's team was not the Astros, it was the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is the exact reason why general managers don't trade for a guy that they will only have for two months anymore.

The Astros won 93 or 94 games last year, best record in the NL, but got eliminated by the mediocre Braves. And their 2000 win total was microscopic. In 1999, the Astros got booted from the playoffs early and the Mariners had a losing year, but Garcia, Halama, and Guillen were still prospects. These three guys together are worth more than Randy Johnson. A quality No. 1 starter, a lefty out of the pen who is a spot starter, and a quality shortstop who does what he has to is worth more than a Hall-of-Famer.

Ichiro Suzuki did not turn around the Mariners by himself. This trade proved that Randy Johnson wasn't as valuable playing for Seattle as many assumed. That is why his No. 51 is now Ichiro's No. 51.
Dan Feintuck
Bedford Corners, N.Y.