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Graph of the Day: Notable Mid-season Deals

With the trading season upon us again, today's Graph of the Day looks at some of the more memorable mid-season deals.

The graphs shows the player's worth by WAR for the acquiring team in the season he was traded.  These are not apples to apples comparisons because not all were traded at the same point in the season, but it's close enough.

Some of the trades are notable for how well they worked while others are remembered for the players moving the other direction.


WAR data courtesy of Sean Smith's Historical WAR database at

For those who don't remember the deals, here's a very quick recap of each.

Doyle Alexander was traded from the Braves to the Tigers in 1987 and pitched quite well down the stretch, helping the Tigers to the playoffs.  The pitcher who went the other way?  None other than John Smoltz.

Larry Andersen was moved from Houston to Boston during the 1990 season in return for a minor league third baseman.  The Red Sox made the playoffs, although Andersen may not have been the difference maker.  Jeff Bagwell, on the other hand, enjoyed a long career with the Astros that may eventually land him in the Hall of Fame.

The next two deals were both acquisitions by the Astros.  Carlos Beltran had an amazing second half of the season and an even better postseason after coming over from the Royals as part of a three team deal, that cost Houston Octavio Dotel and netted the Royals John Buck, Mark Teahen and Mike Wood.

The Astros had an even better result after acquiring Randy Johnson from the Seattle Mariners in 1998, although they gave up a lot more too.  In return for the rental of Johnson, Houston sent Freddy Garcia, John Halama and Carlos Guillen north.

Fred McGriff was a major reason the Braves outlasted the Giants to win their division in 1993.  He was acquired for the low, low price of Vince Moore, Donnie Elliot and Melvin Nieves.

The Manny and C.C. deals were just last season, so hopefully everyone remembers those.

One that might be less remembered is Rick Sutcliffe moving from Cleveland to the Cubs in 1984.  After the trade, he went 16-1 for Chicago, winning the Cy Young and finishing fourth in the MVP race.  Joe Carter and Mel Hall were among the players going the other direction, so it wasn't a total loss for the Indians.

The final deal in this list is one Mets fans would like to forget.  In 2004, the team traded top prospect Scott Kazmir to the Rays for Victor Zambrano.  This is a trade that looked bad from the beginning and just got worse as time wore on.  Zambrano was below replacement level for the Mets in only a few appearances, had a passable 2005 and then pitched himself out of the big leagues.  Kazmir turned into one of the best young pitchers in the majors and deserves some of the credit for the Rays rise to respectability and beyond - although he's struggling this season.

Before anybody complains, I left off the Brock / Broglio trade because I was trying to focus on more traditional deadline deals - where one of the teams thinks they're acquiring the piece that puts them over the top.  I don't think anyone really thought Brock was that missing piece - if I recall correctly Broglio was considered the real prize at the time the deal was made.  Brock quickly proved people wrong (or I suppose proved the Cardinals right) by having a phenomenal 1964 on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

What other big mid-season deals am I missing?