The 10 best Atlanta Braves trades (revised)
10. Bobby/Gerald Perry and Jim LeMasters to Kansas City for Charlie Leibrandt and Rick Luecken. Charlie was the steadying veteran influence the Braves’ young rotation needed in the early 90s, especially in ’91, when he won 15 games and pitched 229 innings. In three years as a Brave Leibrandt won 39 with a 3.35 ERA. Perry batted .255 over the rest of his career and topped 50 RBI in a season just once.
9. Frank Wren/Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu for Michael Bourn. What was the difference between the Braves offense in the first half of the season compared to the second? Michael Bourn. As he went so went the Braves, and, assuming he signs elsewhere, his speed and defense will be sorely missed. Each of the prospects shipped to Houston regressed in 2012.
8. JS/Jimmy Kremers and Keith Morrison to Montreal for Otis Nixon and Boi Rodriguez. A 31-year-old career fourth outfielder before coming to the Braves, Otis emerged as an Atlanta folk hero, stealing 72 bases in ’91 with a career-best .371 OBP. Kremers never played a game for the Expos.
7. JS/Joe Roa and Tony Castillo to the Mets for Alejandro Pena. Without Big Al the ’91 miracle doesn’t happen.
6. John Mullen/Barry Bonnell, Joey McLaughlin and Pat Rockett to Toronto for Chris Chambliss and Luis Gomez. Chambliss was to the batting order in the early 80s what Leibrandt would be to the pitching staff a decade later. See, John Mullen wasn’t all bad.
5. JS/FW (tie) Andy Marte to Boston for Edgar Renteria; Edgar to Detroit for Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez. In two seasons with the Braves Edgar hit .310. Then he turned into Neifi Perez. Though he’s about to be non-tendered, JJ’s contributions (50 wins, 3.58 ERA) should not be overlooked.
4. JS/Roberto Kelly, Tony Tarasco and Esteban Yan to Montreal for Marquis Grissom. For two part-time OF’s and a future “Simpsons” punch line the Braves received a two-time Gold Glove winner, clutch hitter and clubhouse leader.
3. JS/Donnie Elliott, Vince Moore and Melvin Nieves for Fred McGriff. If I need to elaborate you’re reading the wrong blog.
2. JS/Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas to Oakland for Tim Hudson. I place this deal ahead of the heralded McGriff trade because Huddy has spent 8 mostly productive seasons in Atlanta; the Crime Dog was a Brave for just five seasons.
The Cardinals gave up Dan Haren to acquire Mark Mulder, who, like Huddy, was dealt by the A’s following the ’04 season. Haren has won 113 games since the trade; Mulder, 12. Huddy has 105 wins with the Braves despite missing the equivalent of a full season. Cruz can be found in Webster’s under journeyman reliever while Meyer, with 3 wins and a 5.46 ERA to his credit, last pitched in the majors in 2010. Meanwhile, Charlie’s post-Atlanta BA was .100.
1. Bobby/Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. One of the 10 best trades in baseball history, IMHO.
JS/Horacio Ramirez to Seattle for Rafael Soriano. BMF was a decent closer and a helluva set-up man, while Horacio devolved into the worst pitcher in baseball post-Atlanta — 9-13, 6.32 ERA, 1.728 WHIP.
JS/John Rocker and Troy Cameron to the Indians for Steve(s) Karsay and Reed. The two relievers were merely adequate with the Braves but this deal stands out because it rid the team of its biggest asshole, a clubhouse cancer with a dying arm.
John Mullen/Larry McWilliams to the Pirates for Pascual Perez and Carlos Rios. Despite his atrocious ’85 campaign (1-13, 6.14 ERA), Pascual finished his Braves career with a winning record and sub-4.00 ERA. After missing the ’86 season, I-285 returned to post a 2.80 ERA and 1.025 ERA over his next three years with Montreal.
FW/Casey Kotchman for Adam LaRoche. Rochey spearheaded a spirited run to the playoffs in ’09, hitting .325 with a .957 OPS in 57 games. Hope Casey speaks Japanese.
FW/Jose Ascanio to the Cubs for Omar Infante and Will Ohman. Two useful pieces for the poor man’s Manny Acosta.
FW/Jon Gilmore, Santos Rodriguez, Tyler Flowers and Brent Lillibridge to the White Sox for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez (238 K’s and 44 BB in 219 IP).
JS/Damian Moss and Merkin Valdez to San Francisco for Russ Ortiz. The Braves squeezed every last bit of ability from Ortiz, who won 36 during his two-year stint in A-town. Moss would win only 10 more games with an ERA above five after leaving the Braves while Valdez has spent as much time on the DL as he has on the field.
JS/Ricardo Rodriguez to Kansas City for Matty D, who hit .299 as a Brave.
FW/Todd Redmond to Cincy for Paul Janish. Offensively, he’s another Paul Zuvella. But without Janish’s steady glove the Braves would’ve struggled to make the playoffs this year.
JS/Brian Jordan, Odalis Perez and Andrew Brown to LA for Gary Sheffield. Shef was a beast — in the regular season — compiling a .974 OPS in two years. But I’ll never forgive him for the 2002 NLDS:
Last fall, Sheffield became so emotionally involved with Barry Bonds trying to end his October blues that he turned himself into a pumpkin in the playoffs. …
“I still went out there playing hard, but I kept focusing on him, ” said Sheffield, who had spent the offseason working out with Bonds. “It didn’t help that he was at my house during the playoffs. So, I knew the persona he was putting out was wrong. He kept saying he didn’t care [about his October demons], but it killed him. He never thought in a million years he’d get by the Braves.”
Shef had one hit — a single — in that 5-game series against the Giants. He batted .100 with no extra base hits in 10 playoffs games as a Brave.