Com­men­tary: Trade-dead­line busts il­lus­trate why teams should ex­er­cise cau­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

Hold on to your wal­lets. We have reached the time of year when the me­dia and fans clamor for teams in con­tention to snag the best mid­sea­son re­in­force­ments avail­able.

Teams feel pres­sure to make moves (and head­lines), whether there’s a gap­ing hole to fill or not. Yet it’s al­ways a seller’s mar­ket for the top play­ers avail­able. Teams are go­ing to mort­gage the fu­ture for a short-term gain that few will re­al­ize.

Some­times you give up tal­ent but get the re­sult you wanted. The Blue Jays sent Jeff Kent to the Mets to get David Cone in 1992, and Cone helped them win a cham­pi­onship. Ditto the Mar­lins sac­ri­fic­ing Adrian Gon­za­lez to get closer Ugueth Urbina in 2003.

My guess is a wily stock an­a­lyst would move to the side­lines rather than dab­ble in such a high-risk mar­ket, but gen­eral man­agers find the ac­tion ir­re­sistible. As a pub­lic ser­vice, we present rea­sons to move cau­tiously on mid­sea­son trades:

1. Randy John­son from the Ex­pos to the Mariners in a pack­age of play­ers for Mark Langston, May 25, 1989 — The Ex­pos fin­ished 81-81, and Langston left as a free agent.

2. Doyle Alexan­der from the Braves to the Tigers for John Smoltz, Aug. 12, 1987 — Trail­ing the Jays by 11⁄ games

2 at the time of the deal, the Tigers used Alexan­der’s 9-0 fin­ish to win the AL East but lost to the Twins in the ALCS.

3. Larry Andersen from the Astros to the Red Sox for Jeff Bag­well, Aug. 30, 1990 — Up 6 1⁄2 games, the Red Sox won a weak AL East but the A’s swept them in the ALCS.

4. Heath­cliff Slocumb from the Red Sox to the Mariners for Ja­son Varitek and Derek Lowe, July 31, 1997 — Cling­ing to a half-game lead over the An­gels, the Mariners held on to win the AL West but lost to the Ori­oles in the first round.

5. John­son from the Mariners to the Astros for Freddy Gar­cia, Car­los Guillen and John Halama, July 31, 1998 — The Astros, who had an 11-game lead, won 102 games but lost to the Padres in the first round, with John­son los­ing Games 1 and 4.

6. Este­ban Loaiza from the Rangers to Blue Jays for Michael Young, July 19, 2000 — Trail­ing the Yan­kees by 11⁄ games, the Blue Jays 2 fin­ished third.

7. Bar­tolo Colon from the In­di­ans to the Ex­pos for Grady Size­more, Cliff Lee, Bran­don Phillips and Lee Stevens, June 27, 2002 — Seven games be­hind the Braves, the Ex­pos fin­ished 19 games back.

8. Ben Brous­sard from the In­di­ans to the Mariners for Shin-Soo Choo, July 26, 2006 — In fourth place but only three games back at the dead­line, the Mariners fin­ished 15 back.

9. Casey Blake from the In­di­ans to the Dodgers for Car­los San­tana, July 26, 2008 — Blake helped the Dodgers win the NL West and beat the Cubs in the first round, but they lost to the Phillies in the NLCS.

10. Mark Teix­eira (and Ron Ma­hay) from the Rangers to the Braves for Elvis An­drus, Nef­tali Feliz, Matt Har­ri­son and Jar­rod Saltalamacchia, July 31, 2008 — Trail­ing the Phillies by 3 1⁄2 games, the Braves fin­ished third.

Mark Har­ri­son Phil RogeRs |

Seat­tle Mariners ace pitcher Randy John­son had a tough time with the Bal­ti­more Ori­oles in a 1997 loss, de­spite a hoped-for boost from Heath­cliff Slocumb, brought over from the Red Sox.

Phil Masturzo

The Cleve­land In­di­ans sent Bar­tolo Colon to the Ex­pos in 2002, but his new team just kept drop­ping back.

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