Friday, July 31, 2009

Trade Deadline Day!

I originally planned on writing an Historic Hot Stove piece today about the big four-team trade in 2004 that sent Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs for Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera. It was supposed to focus on just how big the trade was to the Red Sox and to their mentality and then mention how they went on win the World Series that year. But that was before the big news came out yesterday about Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz. Now, all of sudden, talking about the 2003-2004 Red Sox just doesn't sound all that interesting.

Instead, I figured I'd just put up a quick post here looking at the actual Trade Deadline Day from recent years. After all, every year we spend all of July talking about trades and watching the wire hoping to see a big trade go down, preferably for our favorite team. And never more so than on July 31st, when we spend all day hoping that the big trades we expected to go down all month actually find themselves going through in those last few hours.

But how exciting does July 31st end up actually being? It seems that it always disappoints, but is that true? Using a transactions database I found online, I counted all the trades that went down on July 31 since 1996 (I'd include earlier years, but I'm not sure how accurate the database is going back that far). The numbers are below, but the busiest years were, by far, between 1998 and 2000, when 35 trades were finalized on those three Deadline Days. Since then, Trade Deadline Day has been kind of slow, with the exception 0f 2006 (when 12 transactions were made). Last year, for example, saw only 4 deals get made - though the three-team Manny Ramirez to Los Angeles trade was huge.

Here are the Deadline Day stats for every year since 1996:

Transactions Made on 7/31, Since 1996
YearNumber of TransactionsNo. of Players TradedNotable Trades
  • Randy Johnson (SEA) for minor leaguers (HOU)
  • Ellis Burks (COL) for Felix Heredia (SF)
  • Mark Grudzielanek + 2 (MON) for Wilton Guerrero, Ted Lilly + 2 (LAD)
  • Todd Hollandsworth (LAD) for Tom Goodwin (COL)
  • Steve Trachsel, Mark Guthrie (TB) for Brent Abernathy (TOR)
  • Greg Maddux (CHC) for Cesar Izturis (LAD)
  • Xavier Nady (NYM) for Oliver Perez (PIT)
  • Kevin Appier (KC) for minor leaguers (OAK)
  • Shawon Dunston (StL) for Craig Paquette (NYM)
  • Mark Teixeira (TEX) for Jarrod Saltalamacchia + others (ATL)
  • Eric Gagne (TEX) for David Murphy + 1 (BOS)
  • Milton Bradley (MON) for Zach Day (CLE)
  • Tomo Ohka (BOS) for Ugueth Urbina (MON)
  • Pedro Astacio (COL) for Scott Elarton (HOU)
  • Nomar Garciaparra (BOS) for Doug Mientkiewicz, Orlando Cabrera (3 other teams)
  • Esteban Loaiza (CHW) for Jose Contreras (NYY)
  • Greg Vaughn (MIL) for Ron Villone + 2 (SD)
  • Ruben Sierra (NYY) for Cecil Fielder (DET)
  • Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez, Danny Darwin (CHW) for Keith Foulke + 5 (SF)
  • Mark McGwire (OAK) for minor leaguers (StL)
  • Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe (SEA) for Heathcliff Slocumb (BOS)
  • Todd Hollandsworth (COL) for Gabe Kapler (TEX)
  • Kyle Farnsworth (DET) for Roman Colon (ATL)
  • Jody Gerut (CHC) for Matt Lawton (PIT)
  • Sidney Ponson (BAL) for minor leaguers (SF)
  • Robin Ventura (NYY) for Bubba Crosby + 1 (LAD)
  • Jeff Suppan + 2 (PIT) for Freddy Sanchez + 2 (PIT)
  • Aaron Boone (CIN) for minor leaguers (NYY)
  • Manny Ramirez (BOS) for Jason Bay (2 teams)
  • Ken Griffey Jr. (CIN) for minor leaguers (CHW)

There you have it. For all the hoopla that we surround the July 31 trade deadline with, it rarely delivers. Certainly there are the occassional Randy Johnson deals or Manny Ramirez deals, but, for the most part, you're actually stuck with the Sidney Ponson deals or the Xavier Nady deals. In less than 24 hours, we'll know how today's deadline turned out. Maybe we'll see the last second Roy Halladay-to-Atlanta-via-Kansas-City-for-Zack-Grienke deal, and maybe we won't. But the hours until we find out will definitely be filled with tension and excitement. And I think that's why we really care about Trade Deadline Day...

Here's hoping for something to spend all weekend talking about. But, even if that doesn't happen, at least we'll have a fun day considering the possibilities.

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