The ultimate goal of any trade is to make your team better. GMs always seek the holy grail of the “win-win” deal, the one that makes both teams better. Economic realities and deals that build for the future can confuse this, but the 2007-08 winter might be remembered for two of the biggest win-win deals in baseball history.
The Rays and Twins shocked a lot of people when they traded Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie. Both teams might end up in the playoffs, but the Rays appear to have gotten a slightly better deal. Garza became an ace-level starter with a 35.3 VORP while Bartlett was named team MVP with a 13.3 VORP. That doesn’t mean the Twins got shafted. Young (14.2 VORP) played a pivotal role, while Harris surprised many with his play at short (9.6 VORP.) Harris also benefits if you include defense, putting up a 4.3 WARP1 that outshines Bartlett’s 3.4, which might stun those that rave about Bartlett’s defense.
That would be a heck of a deal for both teams, but it doesn’t compare to the Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera deal that the Rangers and Reds pulled off. Volquez became the team ace with a 44.6 VORP while Herrera made it to the majors as well. Hamilton became everybody’s All American and totalled 55.3 VORP, which doesn’t include any bonus for his HR derby showing or the positive press the Rangers got from his story.
We’ll have a lot of trade talk starting soon, but GMs will be hard pressed to put together win-win deals like these. They’ll sure try though!
Speaking of trades, I did a small off-the-cuff contest in UTK yesterday, asking people to come up with their best trades. “MrBattafaglia” won with his Cain Cliff Lee for Fielder (plus parts) deal that totaled 18 out of 30 from the judges. It’s important to note that all three said they probably wouldn’t even think of a deal that rated less than a 5 and that such a deal would only be a starting point. They also agreed that a trade that’s an 8 would be the one they’d likely pull the trigger on. Putting deals together, let alone a win-win, is tough work.