|Top 10 big-name Red Sox trades of last half-century||08.25.12 at 6:21 pm ET|
With the Red Sox’ season quickly fading into oblivion and the fans growing disgruntled with the team, the organization had to make a move. Yet, what the team did caught almost everyone by surprise.
On Saturday the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for first basemen James Loney and some prospects. This trade will go down as one of the biggest August trades in MLB history and one of the biggest trades in Red Sox history.
In Loney, the Red Sox acquire a career .284 hitter who has struggled somewhat this season, batting .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs. But more importantly the Sox dump most of the $261 million that’s owed to Beckett, Crawford and Gonzalez through 2018.
With that in mind, let’s examine the 10 biggest trades in the last 50 years of Red Sox history. These are trades involving at least one high-profile player (thus something like Jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson doesn’t make the cut, as Bagwell was an unheralded minor leaguer at the time of the deal).
10. Dec. 6, 1976 — Cecil Cooper to Brewers for George Scott and Bernie Carbo
Cooper, at the time, was a young bat with great potential, but the Sox wanted to reacquire the veteran bats of Carbo (traded to Milwaukee just six months earlier) and Scott to add to their potent lineup. They let go of a future five-time All-Star in Cooper, while Carbo and Scott had solid seasons in 1977 but offered little after that.
9. Dec. 7, 1978 — Bill Lee to Expos for Stan Papi
Red Sox management tired of Lee, the odd but productive left-hander who clashed with manager Don Zimmer, and shipped him north of the border. In return they received Papi, who batted an abysmal .188 in 50 games for the Sox in 1979 and was sent to the Phillies in 1980 for catcher Dave Rader. Lee went on to have a solid season in 1979 with Montreal, going 16-10 with a 3.04 ERA, but didn’t do much after that.
8. July 31, 1997 — Heathcliff Slocumb to Mariners for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe
Looking back on this trade, it’s highway robbery. The Sox sent average closer Slocumb to the Mariners for two guys who became fan favorites soon after. Varitek would man the Boston backstop for almost 15 full years, while Lowe became a standout starter and reliever — including in the 2002 season, when he went 21-7 and finished third in AL Cy Young voting. Both players were a part of the curse-breaking 2004 team, while Slocumb never saved more than 27 games after leaving Boston.
7. Nov. 28, 2003 — Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge De La Rosa and Michael Goss to Diamondbacks for Curt Schilling
Schilling was acquired for two average major league pitchers in Fossum and Lyon along with two minor leaguers, which could also be called robbery since Schilling was already a five-time All-Star and would finish second in Cy Young voting in his first season in Boston after going 21-6. He would also help Boston win two World Series, and his performance in the famous “bloody sock” game in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS helped the Red Sox come back from a 3-0 series deficit to the Yankees.
6. Nov. 24, 2005 — Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia to Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota
Boston may have still been bathing in the glory of its first title in 86 years when it made this trade, but it certainly helped the team pick up its next title in 2007. Beckett and Lowell became staples on the Red Sox roster and both had monster years during the ’07 title run. Beckett was 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA while Lowell batted .324 with 21 homers and 120 RBIs. Ramirez went on to become a three-time All-Star, albeit one with some behavioral issues. Ironically, Beckett will be joining Ramirez in Los Angeles after the shortstop was sent there from Miami earlier this year.
5. May 25, 1984 — Dennis Eckersley and Mike Brumley to Cubs for Bill Buckner
Eckersley may be most known for his days closing games for the Athletics, but he was a solid starter for the Red Sox. In his first two seasons in Boston after being acquired from the Indians, he won 37 games combined and had an ERA of 2.99, but the next four years he would slowly decline as a starter and was eventually traded. Buckner is infamously known for his error that ended Game 6 of the 1986 World Serie, but he had some productive years in Boston, batting .279 for Boston over five years.
4. July 31, 2008 — Manny Ramirez to Dodgers in three-team trade that landed Jason Bay in Boston
Despite producing monster season after monster season in his eight-year career with Boston, Ramirez’ “Manny being Manny” persona become a tired act by 2008. The Red Sox capitalized on his solid first half of 2008 in order to acquire Bay from the Pirates in a three-team deal. Manny went on to hit .396 for the Dodgers that season, but Bay proved to be a great acquisition, hitting 36 homers and driving in 119 runs in 2009 while causing no distractions. Boston then avoided disaster by declining to re-sign Bay, who has struggled for the Mets, while Manny continued to make all the wrong choices, receiving two suspensions for violations of MLB’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
3. Jan. 23, 1981 — Fred Lynn and Steve Renko to Angels for Frank Tanana, Joe Rudi and Jim Dorsey
Lynn was a perennial All-Star outfielder for the Sox, including an AL MVP in 1975, and Renko was a journeyman pitcher who had a mediocre 1980. The Sox were trying to acquire pieces for Lynn so they could avoid losing him as a free agent. However, Rudi and Tanana each only lasted a single unsuccessful year in Boston, and Dorsey never could consistently crack the Red Sox rotation and only pitched in four games for Boston. Meanwhile, Lynn went on to be an All-Star for the Angels from 1981 to 1983.
2. July 31, 2004 — Nomar Garciaparra to Cubs in four-team deal that landed Doug Mientkiewicz from Twins and Orlando Cabrera from Expos
Garciaparra, who had been an immense fan favorite but had started to wear out his welcome by the middle of 2004, was traded in a deadline deal only four months before Boston would end its 86-year title drought. Cabrera ended up as a solid rental player, batting .294 in the second half of 2004, while Mientkiewicz served as a great defensive first baseman. Garciaparra continued his solid form with the Cubs before signing with the Dodgers in 2006 and making his final All-Star appearance in 2007.
1. Nov. 18, 1997 — Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. to Expos for Pedro Martinez
Boston acquired the reigning NL Cy Young winner for minor league pitchers in Pavano and Armas Jr., which could rank as the best deal the Red Sox ever made. While Pavano had one All-Star season in 2004, Martinez gave the Red Sox an amazing seven years that included the a 2004 World Series title. Pedro won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 1999 and 2000, finishing his Red Sox career with an absurd 117-37 record and a dominant 2.52 ERA. It’s hard to decide which season was better, his 1999 campaign when he went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA, or his 2000 season when he went 18-6 with a 1.74 ERA.
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