The ultimate example of a high risk, high reward deadline deal came in 2004 when the Astros acquired free-agent-to-be Carlos Beltran from the Royals in a three-team trade. Beltran carried the Astros in a furious comeback to the NL wild card and nearly to the World Series with eight HRs and 14 RBIs in 12 postseason games only to sign a nine-figure contract with the Mets in the offseason.
2 of 11John W. McDonough/SI, Robert Beck/SI
Lo Duca to Marlins
The trade of the fiery Lo Duca was supposed to derail L.A.'s fragile chemistry and send them tumbling out of the playoff race when he went to Florida in a package that brought back right-hander Brad Penny and Hee Seop Choi. Instead, the Dodgers regrouped (despite Penny's injury) and won the NL West while the Marlins, despite adding outfielder Juan Encarnacion and reliever Guillermo Mota in addition to Lo Duca in the trade, lost a tight battle for the wild card.
3 of 11Peter Read Miller/SI, Damian Strohmeyer/SI, Al Tielemans/SI
Expos roll dice with Colon
In 2003, the Expos were in the wild-card hunt and faced an uncertain existence, so they dealt for the Indians' hard-throwing Colon. They missed the playoffs, traded Colon in the winter and moved to Washington one year later. Meanwhile, two of the prospects Cleveland acquired from Montreal turned into major contributors: starter Cliff Lee (inset left) and All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore (inset right).
4 of 11Brad Mangin/SI, Robert Beck/SI
A's break up the Big Three
With the Moneyball philosophy as his guide, A's GM Billy Beane shipped off two of his Big Three starters -- Mark Mulder, right, (to the Cardinals) and Tim Hudson, left, (to the Braves) -- within months of one another before the 2005 season. He quickly constructed a new Big Three with Rich Harden, Joe Blanton and Danny Haren, who was acquired in the Mulder trade and started for the AL in the 2007 All-Star Game.
5 of 11Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Goodbye to Nomar
Red Sox Nation might have been sad to see their beloved "No-mah" go in July 2004, but two of the players Boston got back in the four-team deal -- Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz -- became integral cogs in the Red Sox's run to the World Series title.
6 of 11John Iacono/SI, Robert Beck/SI
Tigers land Cabrera, Willis
The stunner of the winter meetings sent All-Stars Cabrera and Willis to Motown for highly-prized prospects Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. This trade helps the Tigers win now, and the Marlins win tomorrow.
7 of 11John Biever/SI
Schilling to the Red Sox
Schilling was traded to Arizona by Philly in 2000, and the next year delivered the D-Backs a world title. He didn't even wait that long to do the same after being shipped to Boston before the 2004 season. His epic "Bloody Sock" victory against the Yankees in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS has entered baseball lore, and he has further cemented his reputation as one of baseball's premier big game pitchers by helping the Red Sox win the 2007 crown.
8 of 11Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
Mets win race for Santana
After months of negotiations, the Mets outbid their crow-town rivals, the Yankees, and the defending world champion Red Sox for two-time AL Cy Young award winner Johan Santana. Santana was due to become a free agent after the 2008 season, but if and when he signs a multi-year contract extension with the Mets, the deal will be complete and the best pitcher in baseball will be heading to New York in exchange for four prospects: outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.
9 of 11Chuck Solomon/SI, Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Griffey comes home to Cincy
Griffey's return to his hometown was hailed as a small-market coup, but the first-ballot Hall of Famer has suffered an astounding series of injuries and never topped 145 games played while the Reds have struggled to compete in the NL Central. Seattle, meanwhile, made the playoffs in its first two seasons of the post-Junior era.
10 of 11Chuck Solomon/SI, AP, Bob Rosato/SI
Red Sox get an ace
While Hanley Ramirez (inset top-right) has turned into the game's next great shortstop and Anibal Sanchez (inset mid-right) pitched a no-hitter, the Red Sox got the best end of this deal. During their 2007 World Series run, Beckett was named ALCS MVP while Mike Lowell (inset bottom-right), a self-proclaimed "throw-in" in the trade, was World Series MVP.
11 of 11Robert Seale/TSN/Icon SMI, Chuck Solomon/SI
A-Rod escapes Texas
Aaron Boone's knee injury sent the Yankees scrambling for a third baseman, and they wound up with a shortstop instead, albeit a pretty good one. At the cost of All-Star second baseman Alfonso Soriano, New York landed superstar Alex Rodriguez just weeks after he appeared headed to Boston. The Red Sox have had the last laugh, winning two World Series without Rodriguez.
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