“No one player makes a great team,” argued Padres assistant GM Paul De Podesta via his It Might Be Dangerous blog last week. Lest you think to yourself, “that’s a heck of a way to talk about Adrian Gonzalez”, De Podesta continued, “we don’t need to look any further than the 2008 Padres that went 63-99 with Jake Peavy.” The point of all this analysis? The former Bill Plaschke whipping boy would have you believe that
dumping trading Peavy is the first step to greatness. Let Paul count the historical examples!
There have been a number of occasions in recent memory where teams have traded or lost one of their best players only to be as good or better… immediately:
The 2008 Indians were 37-51 when they traded CC Sabathia, and then went 43-30.
The 2007 Twins finished 79-83, traded Johan Santana and let Torii Hunter leave in free agency, and then went 88-75 in 2008.
The 2003 Rangers finished 71-91, traded Alex Rodriguez, and then went 89-73 in 2004.
The 1996 Giants finished 68-94, traded Matt Williams, and then went 90-72 in 1997. There are many, many more, but here is my favorite string:
The 1998 Mariners traded Randy Johnson in the middle of a 76-85 season.
In 1999 the Mariners finished 79-83 without the Big Unit.
After 1999, the Mariners traded Ken Griffey, Jr and then went 91-71 in 2000.
After 2000, the Mariners lost Alex Rodriguez to free agency and went 116-46 in 2001.That’s three Hall-of-Famers in three successive seasons, and the Mariners improved each time. Baseball is a crazy game.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that trading a star player ensures success. What it does show, however, is that trading a star player can buoy a team. That is what we’re exploring.
Of course, much depends on new additions to the Friar lineup having what DePodesta might consider the necessesary buoyancy to elevate an offensively challenged team. The ’99 Mariners still had Junior and A-Rod, while the the 2001 M’s used some of what they saved on failing to sign Rodriguez on acquiring Ichiro Suzuki. No idea how Manny Ramirez feels about fish tacos, but if he’ll take a two-year deal and the Padres move the fences in for a second time at the place where
pets home runs go to die…they still oughta finish behind the Dodgers and D-Backs next season.