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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

Trading deadline deals sometimes haunt teams

July 22, 2000

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— The deals always sound so good in the morning paper: Hometown team acquires slugger or ace for minor leaguers or unproven players.

But how do those players to be named and nameless minor leaguers actually turn out? With the trade deadline approaching, now is a good time to check on those lesser-known names from deals in years past.

Few of the players have turned out to be as good as John Smoltz (traded from Detroit to Atlanta in 1987 for Doyle Alexander) or Jeff Bagwell (sent by Boston to Houston in 1990 for Larry Andersen).

But there have been some regrettable moves as contenders look for the final piece for the stretch run.

The Mets, in the market for relief help, could sure use All-Star closer Jason Isringhausen, sent to Oakland last July for the ineffective Billy Taylor.

Where would the Indians be if they hadn't traded All-Star reliever Danny Graves at the 1997 deadline to Cincinnati in a package for John Smiley, who went 2-4 during the stretch run?

Fernando Tatis, Jason Varitek, Jose Cruz Jr., Terrence Long, Freddy Garcia, Keith Foulke, Kirk Rueter and Derek Lowe were the unproven players in recent July deals who are now major contributors on pennant contenders.

There will surely be more future All-Stars traded as teams look for the quick fix.

No team has given up as much as the Yankees this season, who traded Ricky Ledee and six minor leaguers including two players from the All-Star Futures game (Drew Henson and Jackson Melian) for David Justice and Denny Neagle.

Both additions have helped the Yankees right their ship, but it could come at quite a cost.

"We felt we were close enough to a three-peat to make these deals worth it," general manager Brian Cashman said.

The Yankees aquired Glenallen Hill from the Cubs Friday for two more prospects. But with Orlando Hernandez's health in question, Cashman might choose to hang on to his best remaining chip (Alfonso Soriano) in case Philadelphia puts Curt Schilling on the market.

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