Decade Debate: 10 Pivotal MLB Trades

There have been countless trades this past decade in the MLB, with some obviously more significant than others. But what were the most pivotal deals of the past 10 years? As part of our Decade Debate series, here are 10 trades in the past decade that turned out to be pivotal for one or both of the clubs involved. Keep in mind that the trades didn’t have to be blockbuster in order to be pivotal. So if you’re wondering why you see the Mets’ acquisition of Johan Santana in the honorable mention section, don’t forget that New York has yet to even make a playoff appearance since that trade.

10. Red Sox trade “No-mah.”

While many Boston fans were sad to see Nomar Garciaparra traded to the Cubs as part of a four-team deal that sent Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz to the BoSox, they can’t deny that the deal worked out in the end. Thanks to the contributions of Cabrera and Mientkiewicz during the year, the Red Sox went on to win the 2004 World Series – their first in 86 years. A groin injury derailed Nomar’s days in Chicago, although he did wind up getting a World Series ring for his half season in Boston. It was well-deserved recognition for a player that had meant a lot to the Red Sox organization.

9. Brewers land CC.

Did the Brewers win a World Series after unloading prospects Matt LaPorta, Zach Johnson, Rob Bryson and Michael Brantley for CC Sabathia in 2008? No, but that hardly takes away from Sabathia’s value that season. He virtually lifted Milwaukee into the postseason almost single-handily that year by posting an 11-2 record with a 2.70 EA. Granted, he was rocked for five runs in only 3.2 innings by the Phillies in Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS, but the fact that he finished sixth in the NL MVP award voting that year proves how much he meant to Milwaukee.

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Phillies acquire ace Cliff Lee from Indians

Jayson Stark is reporting that the Phillies have officially acquired Indians’ ace Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco for four minor leaguers.

Triple-A right-hander Carlos Carrasco, Single-A righty Jason Knapp, catcher Lou Marson — the likely heir apparent to Victor Martinez — and shortstop Jason Donald will be sent to Cleveland.
The trade is pending physical exams.

The Phillies weren’t required to give up pitcher J.A. Happ or the three prospects they balked at trading for Roy Halladay — outfielders Dominic Brown and Michael Taylor, and pitcher Kyle Drabek.

The Phillies get an ace (and a former Cy Young winner) and don’t have to give up prospects Kyle Drabek or Dominic Brown? Or J.A. Happ? Wow. Complete victory. That’s not to say that the Indians were losers in this deal because they are trying to acquire more young talent to restock their farm system. But it’s amazing that Philly was able to get the second best arm on the trade market without giving up their best prospect.

The Phillies are now set for another World Series run with a rotation that now features Lee, Happ, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer. The Dodgers still have the best record in baseball, but this move might put Philadelphia in the driver’s seat in the NL.

As for the Indians, fans have come to trust GM Mark Shaprio’s judgment when it comes to trades, but they must be a little disappointed that they didn’t get Drabek or another young arm (i.e. the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw). But the reality is that one good season doesn’t mean that a team can get a haul for a specific player. Lee was outstanding last year and is an excellent pitcher, but he isn’t Roy Halladay and therefore the Tribe still did well to get Carrasco and Knapp, even if they couldn’t land Drabek.

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