20.Â June 29, 2000 – The Cleveland Indians traded OF David Justice to the New York Yankees for P Zach Day, OF Ricky Ledee and P Jake Westbrook.Â At the time of the trade Justice was in his 12th ML season.Â He was the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year, a 3 time All-Star, 2 time Silver Slugger and had received MVP votes in 5 different seasons.Â For 10 seasons he had a .284 batting average while averaging 23 HR and 80 RBI, numbers that look less imposing because they include his 1996 season in which he played only 40 games, otherwise it’s more like 26/90.Â Prior to the trade Justice had appeared in the post season 7 times with Atlanta and Cleveland, including 3 NL Pennants with 1 World Championship, and 1 AL Pennant.Â After the trade he appeared in 3 more post seasons including 2 AL Pennants and 1 World Championship with the Yankees and a Division Series appearance in his final ML season with Oakland.
Day was traded again before reaching the majors and made his ML debut with Montreal in 2002.Â His career lasted 5 seasons during which he pitched in 86 games, making 60 starts and compiling a record of 21-27, 4.66.Â His last ML season was 2006 and he last appeared in pro ball in 2008 at the Advanced A level in the Minnesota Twins system.Â Ledee had appeared in 192 ML games over 3 seasons prior to the trade batting .258 with 17 HR and 83 RBI in 520 at bats.Â Less than a month after the trade he was traded again, to Texas.Â His ML career lasted 10 seasons ending in 2007 when he batted .222 in 36 at bats for the Mets, his last season in pro ball.Â Westbrook had made his ML debut with the Yankees prior to the trade, totaling 6 2/3 innings.Â He both started and relieved for Cleveland becoming a mainstay in their rotation when he made 30 starts which included 5 complete games in 2004.Â He has battled injuries, making only 5 starts in ’08 and none in ’09.Â As he tries to regain his health and return to the Indians rotation his career mark stands at 63-64, 4.31.Â During Westbrook’s tenure the Indians have made the post season twice, and he appeared for them in the 2007 AL playoffs.
21.Â July 11, 2003 – The Texas Rangers traded P Ugueth Urbina to the Florida Marlins for OF Will Smith, P Ryan Snare and 1B Adrian Gonzalez.Â Perhaps I’m stretching the definition of a star a bit to accommodate Urbina but heck Heathcliff Slocumb made the cut and if you’ll notice the date it’s been over 3 years since our last star for prospects trade so I’m getting a bit antsy.Â Urbina was a 2 time All-Star in his 9th ML season who at the time of this trade had exactly 200 career saves including 26 for the season and had eclipsed the 34 save mark in 3 previous seasons.Â He saved 6 more after the trade in the regular season and had 4 post season saves en route to the 2003 World Championship.Â His career ended after the 2005 season, his 11th, and he retired with 237 career saves.
Smith never made it to the majors and was out of professional baseball after spending ’07-’08 in an independent league.Â Snare’s major league career consisted of 3 1/3 innings for Texas in 2004.Â His 6 season professional career ended following a stint with Kansas City’s AA team in 2006.Â Gonzalez you are probably more familiar with.Â He reached the majors for a cup of coffee in 2004 then had a slightly larger cup in 2005 before Texas traded him to San Diego January 6, 2006.Â As a 24 year old he became the Padres starting 1B in 2006 and has averaged 32 HR and 100 RBI in his 4 seasons there to go with his .285 career batting average, 2 All-Star appearances and 2 Gold Gloves.
22.Â July 16, 2003 – The New York Mets traded P Armando Benitez to the New York Yankees for P Ryan Bicondoa, P Jason Anderson and P Anderson Garcia.Â With the star bar set low by Slocumb and Urbina, Benitez sneaks in.Â In his 10th ML season at the time of the trade, 1 time All-Star Benitez had a career total of 197 saves including 21 that season.Â He had appeared in 4 post seasons and been a part of the 2000 NL Pennant winning Mets.Â He pitched in a lesser role for the ’03 Yankees and helped them to the post season with a 1.93 ERA but did not pitch for them in the post season as they lost the World Series.Â Benitez’ 15th and final season in the majors was 2008 with Toronto, and he pitched at the AAA level for Houston in 2009.Â He has 289 career saves good for 23rd all time, 6th most among technically active players.
Bicondoa never made it to the majors and was out of pro baseball after 2008.Â The last 2 of his 7 pro seasons were spent in independent leagues.Â Prior to the trade Anderson had appeared in 22 MLB games for the Yankees all in relief.Â He appeared in 6 for the Mets and had an ERA of 5.06 in 10 2/3 innings before being waived April 8, 2004.Â His 3rd and final ML season was 2005 and he spent it back with the Yankees.Â He is still in professional baseball having spent the last 4 seasons primarily moving back and forth between AA & AAA in the minor league system of the Phillies.Â Garcia’s major league career consisted of 1 appearance of 2/3 of an inning in 2007 for the Phillies.Â 2008 was Garcia’s last in pro ball and he spent that splitting time between the Advanced A and AA teams of the Seattle Mariners.
23.Â July 31, 2003 – The New York Yankees traded 3B Robin Ventura to the Los Angeles Dodgers for OF Bubba Crosby and P Scott Proctor.Â Ventura was in his 15th ML season at the time of the trade.Â The 2 time All-Star and 6 time Gold Glove winner had with the exception of an injury marred 1997 averaged 24 HR and 92 RBI for the 11 seasons prior to the trade.Â He had made 4 post season appearances including the 2000 NL Pennant.Â In 2004, his final ML season he helped the Dodgers reach the post season.Â His 132 career intentional walks rank 59th all time.
Crosby had 1 hit in 12 career MLB at bats before the trade.Â He was out of MLB after the 2006 season after a career total of 250 at bats over 4 seasons.Â His last professional season was 2007 which he spent with the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.Â Proctor made his ML debut in 2004 and by 2006 had become Joe Torre’s go-to guy out of the bullpen, leading the league with 83 relief appearances in 2006.Â He made 52 appearances in ’07 before being traded to Los Angeles for whom he made another 31, giving him back-to-back seasons with 83 relief appearances.Â Determined to destroy Proctor, Torre left New York and took over as skipper of the Dodgers, subjecting Proctor to 33 appearances through June 21 in 2008 when he finally succumbed to the abuse and began a 2 1/2 month stint on the disabled list.Â Proctor returned from the DL in early September and Torre thrust him into 8 more games before Proctor was re-injured and he missed all of 2009.
24.Â August 26, 2003 – The Pittsburgh Pirates traded OF Brian Giles to the San Diego Padres for P Cory Stewart, P Oliver Perez and OF Jason Bay.Â Giles was in his 9th ML season at the time of the trade.Â He was a 2 time All-Star who had received MVP votes every season from 1999-2002 inclusive during which time he averaged 37 HR, 109 RBI and 10 SB to go with his .309 batting average.Â Giles has been with the Padres since then.Â His power slowly evaporated but he helped the Padres to unprecedented back-to-back post season appearances in ’05 & ’06, leading the league in walks with 119 in 2005.Â He currently ranks 60th in the history of MLB in total bases-on-balls and 59th in career OBP with an even .400 mark.
Stewart never reached the major leagues and was out of pro ball after his 6th minor league season in 2005.Â Perez joined the Peace Corps in 2008 eschewing a 3 year, $36 million offer from the New York Mets and hasn’t been heard from since.Â We wish.Â The enigmatic Perez currently pitches for the Mets and after 8 ML seasons has a career mark of 58-64, 4.54 and 2 years to go on that contract.Â Prior to the trade Bay had 2 hits, a double and a homer, in 8 career ML at bats.Â In 2004 Bay won NL Rookie of the Year honors establishing himself as an everyday OF and has been one since for the Pirates, Red Sox and now the Mets who hope the trend continues.Â Bay has won a Silver Slugger award, is a 3 time All-Star and 3 time MVP vote receiver.
25.Â November 3, 2003 – The Houston Astros traded P Billy Wagner to the Philadelphia Phillies for P Ezequiel Astacio, P Taylor Buchholz and P Brandon Duckworth.Â Wagner was in the 9th season of his ML career at the time of the trade.Â He was a 3 time All-Star and had received MVP votes in 1999 when he won the NL Rolaids Relief Man award.Â He was coming off a 44 save season and had at least 30 saves in 5 of his previous 6 seasons.Â With the Astros he had taken part in 4 post seasons.Â He spent 2 seasons with the Phillies saving a total of 59 games and making another All-Star appearance before leaving via free agency after 2005.Â The Phillies did not make the post season during his stay.Â As of the end of 2009 Wagner is still going, has appeared in 2 more post seasons and has a total of 385 career saves good for 6th all time.
Astacio made his ML debut with Houston in 2005.Â He last appeared in the majors in 2006 and his career mark is 5-6, 6.02 in 28 games, 14 starts.Â In 2009 Astacio threw 7 innings over 3 appearances to a 10.29 ERA for the Chicago Cubs AAA affiliate.Â Buchholz made his ML debut for Houston in 2006, making 19 starts among 22 appearances for a record of 6-10, 5.89.Â The Phillies traded him December 12, 2006 to the Colorado Rockies for whom he still pitches.Â He missed the entire 2009 season due to injury and his current ML career record stands at 18-21, 4.42.Â Having been in the majors for 3 seasons prior Duckworth’s inclusion in this trade makes it a borderline candidate for consideration similar to Chris James’ presence in trade # 1 in this series and you may discard it if you wish.Â Ultimately I included this deal because I felt in my opinion that like James prior to the trade, Duckworth’s presence in the majors was hardly clear cut.Â At this time he had a 15-18, 4.87 record in 65 games, 58 starts and had spent time in the minors in both 2001 & 2003.Â His 2 seasons with Houston after the trade also included time in the minor leagues and his ML record with Houston was 1-3, 8.08 in 26 games, 8 starts.Â He left Houston as a free agent following the 2005 season and last pitched in the majors for Kansas City in 2008.Â He spent 2009 in the starting rotation of Kansas City’s AAA affiliate.Â The Astros made the post season in both 2004 & 2005 and Astacio did participate in ’05.
26.Â November 28, 2003 – The Arizona Diamondbacks traded P Curt Schilling to the Boston Red Sox for OF Mike Goss, P Casey Fossum, P Brandon Lyon and P Jorge de la Rosa.Â Schilling was in his 16th ML season at the time of the trade.Â He had been a 5 time All-Star and had received both Cy Young and MVP votes in 3 different seasons.Â He was a 2 time 20 game winner who had struck out over 300 batters in a season 3 times and had a 4th season in which he came up 7 K’s short of that mark.Â His career mark was 163-117, 3.33, his K/BB ratio an excellent 4.22-1 and he had made 3 post season appearances including the 2001 World Championship.Â His 1st season in Boston the Red Sox ended an 86 year drought with a World Series title and in 2007, his 20th and final season in the majors Boston won another title.Â He retired with a record of 216-146, 3.46, 20 career shutouts and his career mark of 8.6 K/9 ranks 15th all time.
Goss never made it to the majors.Â He spent 7 seasons in the minors never making it above AA and his last 4 seasons were spent in various independent leagues.Â Fossum had spent the 3 seasons prior to the trade shuttling back and forth between Boston and the minor leagues.Â His ML career mark at the time was 14-11, 4.42 in 75 games, 33 starts.Â He is still in professional ball but the only 2 seasons he has not spent any time in the minors were 2005-2006 which he spent with the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays which at that time were considered by many to be an extension of the minor leagues.Â Through 9 ML seasons his career mark stands at 40-53, 5.45.Â Like Fossum, Lyon had spent the 3 seasons prior to the trade moving between the minors and majors.Â At the time of the trade he was 10-14, 4.99 in 75 games, 21 starts.Â He spent 5 seasons in Arizona but missed all of 2004 due to injury.Â In 2008 he was the Diamondbacks‘ primary closer making 26 saves.Â He left Arizona via free agency after 2008 and his record for them was 11-15, 4.03 with 42 saves overall.Â In 2009 he was a mainstay in the Detroit Tigers bullpen in a set up role.Â At the time of the trade de la Rosa had not yet appeared in the majors and he never would for Arizona as they traded him again 3 days later to the Milwaukee Brewers in a 9 player swap.Â He made his ML debut for the Brewers in 2004 and went 4-7, 6.23 for them over the next 2 1/2 seasons in 61 games, 8 starts until they traded him to Kansas City who after 1 1/2 years traded him to Colorado where he seems to have found a home going 26-17, 4.60 as a regular in their starting rotation the last 2 seasons.
That brings us to the end of the series.Â While some of the traded stars elicited decent returns, more often they brought back at best marginal major leaguers and at worst players that never made it above AA.Â So it seems based on these examples the chance of getting a solid return for trading a star is not great, getting a star back is incredibly unlikely, and holding onto them either for the purpose of attempting to re-tool around them or to gather extra draft picks when they leave via free agency looks like a better course of action at least to this observer.
Some may wonder why the Roberto Alomar to the Mets or Bartolo Colon to the Expos trades are not here.Â My stated goal here was to look at trades that included returns for the stars that were not “established major league talent” and while I admitted along the way to skirting that by including Chris James and Brandon Duckworth in trades # 1 and 25 respectively, I couldn’t bring myself to treat Matt Lawton (a 7 year vet and 5 year starting OF in the Alomar deal) and Lee Stevens (a 10 year vet and 5 year starting 1B in the Colon deal) with the same lack of respect I showed to James and Duckworth.
Perhaps if we’re all still here doing this little thing in 2015 I’ll take a look at the similar trades made in the 2005-2009 period.Â Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!