As a sidebar to a conversation about the Mets possibly considering trading a member of their core, FOB (Friend Of Blog) WannyBackstra asked “does trading star players for prospects work for the team trading the star?”Â This is a rather open ended question so we worked together to establish some parameters.Â You may not agree with the parameters, that’s fine, but you weren’t there when we were establishing them so tough luck.Â Basically all we’re looking for is do the prospects become viable major league players, do they fade into oblivion never to be heard from again, or something in between.Â As far as what a “star” is that was left to my discretion.Â Some of the trades will include more than just literally minor league prospects sent in one direction because some of the trades included “others” as well, but none will be “star for star” and most will not include anything that can be considered “established major league talent” going back for the “star.”Â Feel free to submit deals you feel are overlooked in the comments section.Â So starting with the 1990 season because I wanted to finish this before the 22nd century, here is what I found:
1.Â December 6, 1989 – The Cleveland Indians traded OF Joe Carter to the San Diego Padres for C Sandy Alomar Jr., 3B Carlos Baerga (yes at that time he was primarily a 3B) and OF Chris James.Â At that point Carter had finished 5 full and 7 total seasons in MLB and had hit at least 27 HR and driven in at least 98 runs 4 times.Â Carter wound up playing 16 total ML seasons appearing in 5 All-Star games and winning 2 Silver Slugger awards but spent just the 1990 season in San Diego before being traded December 5, 1990 to the Toronto Blue Jays with whom he won back-to-back World Championships in ’92-’93.Â San Diego did not make the post season during Carter’s stay.
If you wish to dismiss this trade from the analysis because of Chris James’ presence you may.Â He had played 413 ML games for 2 teams prior to the trade.Â James had what I would describe as a serviceable career, starting at least 110 games in 6 of his 10 total ML seasons during which he played for 8 different teams.Â Suffice it to say that if Cleveland was counting on him to replace Carter that didn’t work out for them but don’t worry, the other players acquitted themselves well.Â Alomar Jr. had 20 ML at bats prior to the trade and played the next 11 seasons for Cleveland, winning Rookie of the Year and a Gold Glove in 1990 and playing in 6 All-Star games including winning the MVP award for the 1997 All-Star game.Â Alomar Jr. wound up playing 20 ML seasons.Â After hitting .380 in 12 AAA games in 1990 Baerga was called up by the Indians and played in 108 games, starting 45 at 3B, 13 at SS and 8 at 2B.Â In 1991 he played in 158 games starting 77 at 3B and 73 at 2B.Â In 1992 he became the Indians regular 2B and stayed there until July 29, 1996 when he was traded to the New York Mets.Â During his time with Cleveland he appeared in 3 All-Star games and won 2 Silver Slugger awards.Â Cleveland won the 1995 AL Pennant with both players, and appeared in the post season from 1995-1999 inclusive.
2.Â August 29, 1990 – The Texas Rangers traded OF/DH Harold Baines to the Oakland A’s for P Joe Bitker and P Scott Chiamparino.Â At this stage Baines was in the 11th season of his ML career having hit at least 20 HR and driven in at least 88 runs 6 times and was a 4 time All-Star.Â Baines wound up playing 22 total ML seasons and appearing in 2 more All-Star games and was traded by Oakland to the Baltimore Orioles January 14, 1993.Â Oakland won the 1990 AL Pennant.
Bitker had appeared in 1 ML game prior to the trade, throwing 3 innings of relief.Â By the end of 1991 having thrown a total of 26 2/3 ML innings Bitker was out of professional baseball.Â Chiamparino had no ML experience prior to the trade.Â By the end of 1992 having thrown a total of 85 1/3 ML innings Chiamparino at age 25 was out of baseball.Â He attempted a comeback at age 27 in 1994 for the AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres but has been out of pro ball since.Â Texas did not make the post season during their tenure.
3.Â August 29, 1990 – The St. Louis Cardinals traded OF Willie McGee to the Oakland A’s for OF Felix Jose, 3B Stan Royer and P Daryl Green.Â At the time of the trade McGee was in his 9th ML season and had been the NL MVP in 1985 when he batted .353 with 26 doubles, 18 triples and 10 HR.Â He had finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting in 1982 and prior to the trade had appeared in 4 All-Star games and won 3 Gold Gloves and 1 Silver Slugger.Â McGee wound up playing 18 total ML seasons leaving Oakland via free agency after the 1990 season.Â Oakland won the 1990 AL Pennant.
1990 was Jose’s first full year in MLB.Â At the time Oakland traded him he was hitting .264 with 8 HR and 39 RBI in 341 AB.Â He stayed with St. Louis through the 1992 season and ’91-’92 were his best seasons in the majors.Â He was traded to Kansas City February 22, 1993 and had 2 decent seasons with the Royals before slowly fading from the major leagues.Â He wound up playing all or part of 11 ML seasons finishing his career by appearing in 18 games with Arizona in 2003 but was out of MLB from 1996-1999 inclusive and played the 1998 season with the independent Atlantic League Nashua Pride.Â Prior to the trade Royer had not appeared in MLB.Â By the end of 1994 he was out of professional baseball having appeared in 89 ML games and getting 164 at bats.Â Green never appeared in MLB and was out of professional baseball following the 1991 season which he spent in Advanced A ball.Â The Cardinals did not make the post season during their tenure.
4.Â August 27, 1992 – The New York Mets traded P David Cone to the Toronto Blue Jays for 2B Jeff Kent and OF Ryan Thompson.Â At the time of the trade Cone was in his 6th full ML season and 7th overall.Â He was a former 20 game winner and 2 time All-Star who in his previous 4 seasons had averaged 16 wins and 219 strikeouts and had an overall ERA of 3.06 and a K/BB ratio of 3-1.Â Cone finished the ’92 season with Toronto and helped them to their first World Championship before departing via free agency at the end of the season.Â Toronto did not suffer his loss much, winning a second consecutive World Series the next year.Â Cone wound up playing 17 total ML seasons which included a total of 5 All-Star appearances, the 1994 AL Cy Young award and 5 total World Series appearances each of which his team won.
Kent was in his rookie season and at the time of the trade was batting .240 with 8 HR and 35 RBI in 192 at bats.Â Kent stayed with the Mets until July 29, 1996 when he was traded to the Cleveland Indians.Â Kent’s best season with the Mets was 1993 when he hit .270 with 21 HR and 80 RBI in 496 at bats.Â He wound up playing 17 total ML seasons appearing in 5 All-Star games, winning 4 Silver Slugger awards and the 2000 NL MVP when he hit .334 with 33 HR and 125 RBI for the San Francisco Giants.Â Kent made 7 post season appearances and was part of the 2002 Giants NL Pennant.Â Thompson had no ML experience at the time of the trade.Â He spent the rest of 1992 and the next 3 seasons with the Mets but never played in more than 98 games for them or any ML club during his 9 season total ML career.Â Thompson was traded to the Cleveland Indians on March 31, 1996 and drifted between injuries, the majors and the minors last seeing the majors in 2002 and leaving professional baseball for good following 2004.Â The Mets did not make the post season during their tenure.
5.Â January 14, 1993 – Determined to see what the other side of a Harold Baines trade felt like the Oakland A’s sent him to the Baltimore Orioles for P Allen Plaster and P Bobby Chouinard.Â Baines accomplishments have been noted above in entry # 2.Â The Orioles did not make the post season during his 3 season stop there following this trade.
Plaster never made the majors and was out of professional baseball following the 1996 season which he spent at AA.Â Chouinard reached the majors for Oakland in 1996 and pitched in 13 games, starting 11, winning 4 of 6 decisions with an ERA of 6.10.Â He wound up playing for 4 different clubs over 5 total major league seasons in 111 games, all but 13 of which were in relief and finished with a career ERA of 4.57 and a won-lost record of 11-8.Â Chouinard last appeared in the majors for Colorado in 2001 and was out of professional baseball for good following the 2005 season after appearing for various AAA clubs in the interim.
6.Â July 18, 1993 – The San Diego Padres traded 1B Fred McGriff to the Atlanta Braves for OF Vince Moore, P Donnie Elliott andÂ OF Melvin Nieves.Â At the time of the trade Fred The Crime Dog McGriff had completed 3 full and 5 total seasons.Â In his 3 full seasons he had averaged 35 HR, 87 RBI and 6 SB(!) while compiling a .283 batting average and had won a Silver Slugger award.Â The Crime Dog went on to play 19 total ML seasons, appear in 5 All-Star games and win 2 more Silver Slugger awards.Â He reached the post season 4 times with the Braves and helped them win the 1995 World Series.
Moore never reached the majors but not for a lack of trying.Â He played 14 minor league seasons and spent the last 7 years of his career in various independent leagues, finally leaving pro ball following the 2004 season in which he played for the Edinburg Roadrunners of the Central League.Â Elliott spent parts of 1994 & 1995 in the majors for San Diego, appearing in a career total of 31 games, 30 in relief.Â His ML career record is 0-1 with an ERA of 3.09.Â He left pro ball following the 1998 season which he spent part of with the AA team of the Texas Rangers.Â Nieves had 19 ML at bats prior to the trade.Â After it he spent parts of the next 3 seasons with San Diego who traded him to Detroit on March 22, 1996.Â He finished his ML career after 7 seasons in 1998 and left pro ball for good following 19 at bats in 2008 with Laguna of the Mexican League.
7.Â July 31, 1993 – The Oakland A’s traded OF Rickey Henderson to the Toronto Blue Jays for P Steve Karsay and OF Jose Herrera.Â Rather than outline Henderson’s career achievements I’ll just point out that he’s in the Hall of Fame and that his nickname is Man of Steal.Â He helped the Blue Jays win the World Series that October and played 25 ML seasons.
Karsay had not yet appeared in the majors prior to the trade.Â He pitched for the A’s in 1993, ’94 and ’97 compiling a 7-16 record in 36 games, all starts.Â He wound up spending 11 seasons in MLB leaving pro ball following the 2006 season which he spent part of in a brief return to Oakland and part pitching for Cleveland’s AAA team.Â He spent the majority of his career as a relief pitcher and finished with a career record of 32-39 with an ERA of 4.01 and 41 saves.Â He eventually made it to the post season 3 times but never to the World Series.Â Herrera’s major league career consisted of 390 at bats spread over the ’95-’96 seasons and he batted .264.Â He spent 14 seasons in pro ball leaving following the 2008 season.Â His final 3 seasons were with Newark of the independent Atlantic League.
8.Â August 31, 1993 – The St. Louis Cardinals traded P Lee Smith to the New York Yankees for P Rich Batchelor.Â At the time of the trade Smith was in his 14th ML season.Â He had appeared in 5 All-Star games and had saved 398 games.Â Smith wound up pitching in 18 ML seasons and left the majors after the 1997 season with 478 total saves which is 3rd all time.Â Smith did pitch briefly for Houston’s AAA club in 1998 before ultimately hanging it up.Â Smith left the Yankees following the 1993 season as a free agent and they did not make the post season that year.
Batchelor reached the majors with St. Louis that year but did not return until 1996.Â He was traded by the Cardinals June 13, 1997 and that was his last season in the majors.Â He finished his career with 43 appearances, all in relief, over 3 seasons with a record of 5-1 and an ERA of 5.03.Â He spent the next 3 years in the minor leagues, leaving pro ball for good following a stint with the Yankees Advanced A team in 2000.Â St. Louis did make the post season following the 1996 season but Batchelor was not on their post season roster.
9.Â December 14, 1994 – The Chicago White Sox traded P Jack McDowell to the New York Yankees for P Keith Heberling and OF Lyle Mouton.Â At the time of the trade Jack Black Jack McDowell had completed 7 seasons in the majors.Â He was a 2 time 20 game winner, 3 time All-Star and AL Cy Young award winner for 1993 when he went 22-10 with an ERA of 3.37.Â His career record at that point was 91-58 and his ERA was 3.50.Â Black Jack left the Yankees following 1995 via free agency and wound up with a career record of 127-87, 3.85 in 12 total seasons.Â He made it to the post season 3 times but never to the World Series, including 1995 with the Yankees when they lost in the ALDS to the Seattle Mariners.
Heberling never reached the majors and was out of professional baseball following the 1996 season which he spent with the Rookie level team of the Pittsburgh Pirates.Â Mouton reached the majors in 1995 and left after the 1997 season when he was purchased by the Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League.Â He returned to the majors in mid-’98 with the Baltimore Orioles and wound up playing in all or part of 7 seasons in the majors, his last with the Florida Marlins in 2001 when he batted .059 in 17 at bats.Â He left pro ball for good following stints with 3 different AAA teams in 2003.Â The White Sox did not make the post season during their tenure.
That’s enough reading for now.Â You may notice a trend developing.Â Part 2, 1995-1999 coming soon to a TRDMB near you.