Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Top Five Worst Trades in Red Sox History

Before Aviv and I started Sox vs. Stripes, I had my own sports blog called The Coffin Corner where I opined on Boston sports in particular, but also anything else that caught my eye. I shuttered the site when I started this with Aviv for two reasons: I really wanted to commit to this and with my daughter's illness, there was no way to do both.

Anyway, over the two years I wrote the blog, I had a lot of "Top 5" lists for a variety of Red Sox-related events. Trades, players, games, years...you name it. One of the posts was "Top Five Worst Trades in Red Sox History." I wrote it in August of 2007 as it became clear that Eric Gagne was a massive bust, but I didn't add him because the season was still in play and, looking back, he still doesn't make the cut. Ugh. And with trade season getting into full-swing now, I thought it would be nice to haul it out and post it here.

Oh, and when you get to number one...Yankee fans, no matter how much you crow about your past, fading glories, remember that you'd have never made it without us. All your success stems directly from Boston's largesse.

You're welcome.


5. Freddy Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez to Pittsburgh for Jeff Suppan, Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez (July 31,2003): Shame the deadline didn't cut this one off. Suppan went 3-4 with a 5.57 ERA for the Sox and was left off the post-season roster. Lyon and Martinez were throwaways, and although Lyon was a piece of the Schilling trade late that year, you could've easily slotted Alvarez or some other middling prospect into the deal. Meanwhile, Sanchez is becoming a perennial All-Star at third base and Gonzalez is a top-flight relief pitcher. Thanks, Theo.

What always killed me about this trade is that every Sox fan knew Suppan couldn't hack pitching in Boston. But Theo made the trade anyway. Kind of reminds you of a certain free-agent right-fielder signed this year...

4. Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson to Baltimore for Mike Boddicker (July 29, 1988): I know Boddicker gave the Sox 2 1/2 good seasons (39-22, including a 17-8 record in 1990). But Schilling and Anderson developed into two All-Star talents while Boddicker couldn't push us over the top, losing both games he pitched against the A's in the ALCS. One of those deals that sounded good but turned out to suck.

3. Sparky Lyle to the New York Yankees for Danny Cater and Mario Guerrero (March 22, 1972): And then there are those deals that sounded bad from the start. Lyle had already shown he had talent; he would go on to win a Cy Young Award in 1977 and appear in three All-Star games. Cater and Guerrero became trivia answers and not much else. This trade alone would qualify as the worst ever for a number of teams. For the Sox it's only third-worst. Ouch.

2. Jeff Bagwell to the Houston Astros for Larry Andersen (August 30, 1990): Four saves. That's what the Red Sox netted from this deal. Peter Gammons said on the day the deal was made that the Sox had dealt away a future batting champion. This is why Peter Gammons is God. Say he was blocked by Scott Cooper all you want, but Bagwell's talent was too obvious to keep him in the minor leagues. What an unmitigated disaster. Just a lousy, rotten deal.

1. Every Single God-Damned Trade Made by Harry Frazee with the New York Yankees Between 1918 and 1923: It's easy to say "Babe Ruth" and be done with it. But Frazee made so many more deals with the Yankees that a list must be compiled. All these players were dealt from the Sox to the Yankees in that five-year period:

  • Babe Ruth
  • Carl Mays
  • Duffy Lewis
  • Dutch Leonard
  • Ernie Shore
  • Herb Pennock
  • Joe Dugan
  • Elmer Smith
  • Everett Scott
  • Joe Bush
  • Sam Jones
  • Wally Schang
  • Waite Hoyt

Go look at the Yankees' roster during the 20s; it's practically all Red Sox players who were traded there. That's what makes it so damned frustrating; we helped to build the Evil Empire. Frazee may as well have worn a Yankee uniform while he made the deals. He is easily the worst owner in sports history.

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