MLB's Best Midseason Trades
Do midseason acquisitions get any better than this? Sutcliffe arrived in Wrigley in June and went 16-1 to lead the Cubs to the NL East title and claim the Cy Young Award. Among the players Chicago gave to Cleveland in the deal: future star Joe Carter and Mel Hall.
Five teams finished within 31/2 games of each other atop the AL East in `88, but the Red Sox were on top thanks largely to Boddicker, who went 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA after arriving on July 29. The price was high, however, as prospects Curt Schilling and Brady Anderson were shipped to Baltimore.
With free agency looming, Cone was dealt from the Mets and helped Toronto win its first World Series title. Cone went 4-3 with a 2.55 ERA during the regular season and pitched 22 2/3 innings in the postseason. Jeff Kent went to the Mets in the swap.
Atlanta took advantage of the Padres' fire sale to bring in McGriff, who sparked the Braves to a 51-18 record the rest of the season and the NL West crown. The Crime Dog batted .310 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI.
This time it was the Yankees who needed Cone's help, and he delivered by winning nine of his 13 starts as New York claimed the wild card.
Perhaps the ultimate example of a rental player, Johnson went 10-1 in 11 starts to lead Houston to the NL Central crown and then bolted for Arizona in free agency in the winter. The Astros, who lost in the first round despite having Johnson, gave up a ton of talent in the exchange: Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen and John Halama.
Arizona had all the makings of a playoff team in '99 with one exception: It needed a closer. The Marlins obliged by sending the Ice Man to the desert, where he saved 22 games in 30 appearances and helped the D'backs win the NL West. The pitcher the Marlins got in return, Brad Penny, won two games for them in the 2003 World Series.
On their way to a three-peat, the Yanks needed an offensive boost and they got it from Justice, who came over from Cleveland in late June. He hit 20 home runs in 78 games for New York as it won the AL East by 21/2 games. He added three more home runs in the postseason as the Yankees won their 26th World Series title. Jake Westbrook and Ricky Ledee were among the players sent to Cleveland in the trade.
"The Thrill" went out with a bang, hitting .345 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs in 51 games to help guide the Cardinals to the NL Central crown. He retired after the season.
Chicago acquired Johnson from Baltimore for his Gold Glove but also got a potent bat in the process. He hit .326 with 10 home runs in 44 games as the White Sox won the AL Central.
A's GM Billy Beane pulled off one of his patented three-team deals to bring Dye in from Kansas City, and the move paid off handsomely. Dye batted .297 with 14 home runs for the A's, who won 102 games to claim the wild card. In typical Beane fashion, Oakland gave up nothing of significance in the deal.
He resurrected his career after an early-August trade to St. Louis, where he went 7-1 in 11 starts. The Cardinals finished tied with Houston atop the NL Central but were designated as the wild card for the playoffs.
Florida took a huge risk by trading a former No. 1 overall pick, Adrian Gonzalez, but it helped bring a title to Miami. Urbina (1.41 ERA in 38 1/3 IP) solidified the bullpen and the wild-card Fish beat the Yankees in the World Series. But Urbina is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for attempted murder in Venezuela.
Third base had been a problem spot for the Cubs since Ron Santo retired, but they solved their woes by fleecing the Pirates for Ramirez, who hit 15 home runs after being acquired in late July.
The small-market Twins won their second of three consecutive AL Central crowns thanks largely to Stewart, who hit .322 and scored 43 runs in the season's final 65 games. Bobby Kielty went to Toronto in the trade.
The best pickup during the Dodgers' midseason overhaul, Finley hit 13 homers with 46 RBIs after coming over on July 31. None of the three prospects Arizona received amounted to much.
He solidified the weak Boston infield defense and hit .294 to spark the Red Sox to their first World Series title since 1918. The move wasn't without controversy, though, as longtime Beantown hero Nomar Garciaparra was shipped to the Cubs.
He set the baseball world on its ear with an electrifying hot streak, tying the record for home runs in a postseason (eight) and nearly taking the Astros to their first World Series. Houston sent closer Octavio Dotel to Oakland and catcher John Buck to K.C. in the blockbuster. Beltran signed with the Mets in the winter.
The former Rockies All-Star didn't arrive in St. Louis until Aug. 6, but he made the most of his short time there, hitting .280 with a .393 on-base percentage and 11 home runs. He hit six more home runs in the postseason as the Cardinals won the NL pennant.
For a change, the Yankees didn't pay top dollar for a pitcher. They went bargain-hunting and rescued Chacon from Coors Field, and he helped them win their eighth consecutive AL East title by going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA.
Seemingly always in need of bullpen help, the Braves found it when they acquired Farnsworth from the Tigers. He saved 10 games for Atlanta, which won its 14th consecutive division title.
The longtime Phillies outfielder was shipped to the Yankees for four nondescript minor leaguers in what was essentially a salary dump. Abreu batted .330 with seven home runs down the stretch to help New York pull away from Boston in the AL East race.
After 2 1/2 years with his original team, the Cubs, Maddux was sent to the Dodgers for infielder Cesar Izturis. The old pro proved he still had it, going 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA as Los Angeles qualified for the playoffs as the wild card.
Lee played well for Texas, batting .322 with a .525 slugging percentage after a July 28 deal and parlaying his outstanding season into a $100 million contract with the Astros in the winter. Despite adding Lee, the Rangers failed to make a run at the playoffs, and the reliever they gave up for Lee, Francisco Cordero, would return to form as an elite closer in 2007.
A day before the trade deadline, the Braves sent five young players to the Rangers, including stud catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia, in exchange for All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira and left-hander Ron Mahay. It didn't take long for deal to pay off -- Teixeira homered in his Atlanta debut and drove in four runs.
The upsetting Indians flipped Sabathia to Milwaukee for a package of prospects (Matt LaPorta, Zach Jackson, Bob Bryson and Michael Brantley. Sabathia was 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA when the trade was made, but he went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and seven complete games in helping the Brewers take the NL wild card. Sabathia lost his one postseason start, though, giving up five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings to the Phillies.
For the second straight season, Teixeira switched teams just before the deadline. The Braves sent Teixeira to the Angels for first baseman Casey Kotchman and minor league pitcher Stephen Marek. In the remaining 54 regular season games, Teixeira hit .358 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs, helping the Angels reach 100 wins for the first time in franchise history.
Ramirez wore out his welcome in Boston, and the Red Sox sent him to the Dodgers in a three-team trade that gave Boston Pittsburgh's Jason Bay. Ramirez carried Los Angeles to the NL West title by hitting .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 games. In the playoffs, he led the Dodgers to the NLCS, hitting .520 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 8 games. In the offseason, Ramirez signed a two-year, $45 million deal with the Dodgers.