Trades in MLB have the potential to alter the fate of a franchise. Which deal stands out as the best in each team’s history?
Even if it feels as though your favorite MLB team only makes bad trades where the starting pitcher you traded for is awful and then leaves at the end of the year while the prospect you gave away turns into a Cy Young (ok, maybe that only happens to Baltimore Orioles fans), their front office has still probably made at least one solid trade in the past 50 years.
As we go through this list, we will see multiple Hall of Famers who were traded early in their career before going on to ascend to superstardom, pennant-race acquisitions that did exactly what they were supposed to do and even World Series titles won on the backs of traded players.
On the flip side, some of the trades touched on here are likely the worst ever for the team that lost the trade. Let that be a warning to any fans whose team traded away John Smoltz, Ryne Sandberg, Steve Carlton, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Bagwell or Kenny Lofton. It happens, and the best thing to do is get through it quickly and find your team’s best trade. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best trades ever for each MLB franchise.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Curt Schilling from the Phillies, 2000
- Diamondbacks get: Curt Schilling
- Philadelphia Phillies get: Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee, Vicente Padilla
By the middle of the 200 season, Curt Schilling was fed up with the City of Philadelphia and the losing ways of the Phillies, so he pushed his way out. The trade that followed helped set the Diamondbacks on a path to the 2001 World Series. Paired with Hall of Fame left-hander Randy Johnson, Arizona had one of the best one-two punches ever assembled in an MLB rotation.
In the 2001 World Series, Schilling claimed co-MVP honors with Johnson and pitched 21.1 innings in the seven-game defeat of the New York Yankees that is still one of the all-time classic series. The pair of aces would follow it up in 2002 by combining to go 47-12 with both pitchers striking out over 300.
To get Schilling, the Diamondbacks gave up a quartet of players who never amounted to much in Philadelphia. Daal only pitched one more season with the Phillies. In three years with the team, Lee only hit 20 home runs once and never made an All-Star team. Vicente Padilla had the longest MLB career of the group and won over 100 games while topping 200 innings in three seasons. He pitched in the playoffs once with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009.