To understand the risk/reward involved in such a midseason move, let's look at some of the best and worst trades in Phils' history.
1. Rick Wise for Steve Carlton (1972): A trade of aces. Rick Wise went on to have a fair career in 11 seasons after the trade (113-105), but Steve Carlton went on to win four Cy Young awards on his way to the Hall of Fame. He won 241 games, completed 185 games, threw 39 shutouts and struck out 3,031 batters in the 15 years he pitched for the Phils.
2. Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d'Arnaud for Roy Halladay (2009): Halladay could turn out to have a Phillies career that surpasses even Carlton's. He has been unbelievable these last 2 years and this level of production should continue for years to come. Of the four players we gave up, only Drabek has seen major league action and he has gone just 4-8 with an ERA of 5.52 in 17 starts for the Blue Jays.
3. Don Demeter for Jim Bunning (1963): In his 3 years with the Phillies before the trade, Demeter had hit 71 home runs, so it was somewhat risky to deal him. But Bunning was a true ace for the Tigers. In the seven seasons before the trade, Bunning won 110 games (20, 19 and 17 twice). But in 1963 he fell to 12-13. The trade turned out to be a real steal. Demeter played for 4 more years and hit 58 homers, and Bunning went on to almost win us a pennant in '64, going 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA. In 6 years with the Phillies, he won 89 games, completed 65 and threw 23 shutouts. He won 19 games 3 years in a row and his ERA in four seasons was 2.63, 2.60, 2.41 and 2.29.
4. Gene Freese for Johnny Callison (1959): Freese was a decent third baseman who could hit for power (23 HRs in 1959), but we took a risk and traded him for a White Sox prospect who had a horrible 1959 (.173 batting average). Callison went on to give us 10 great years, including three seasons as an All-Star. He came in second in the NL MVP vote in 1964 when he had 31 home runs and 104 RBI. He hit 185 home runs, 265 doubles and drove in 666 runs. Freese played for 7 more years and hit only 62 home runs.
5. There is no clear number 5, but a large number of candidates: John Stearns and Del Unser for Tug McGraw (1974, Grade: A-); Willie Montanez for Garry Maddox (1975, Grade: A-); Tom Underwood and Dane Iorg for Bake McBride (1977, Grade: A-); Mike Krukow and two minor leaguers for Joe Morgan (1982, Grade: B+); Chris James for John Kruk and Randy Ready (1989, Grade: A-); Juan Samuel for Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell (1989, Grade: A-); Chuck McElroy and Bob Scanlan for Mitch Williams (1991, Grade: A-); Jason Grimsley for Curt Schilling (1992, Grade: A-); Taylor Buchholz and Brandon Duckworth for Billy Wagner (2003, Grade: B+).
Pretty good right? Let's do it again! Whoa, take a look at these past blunders before you urge Ruben Amaro to pull the trigger.
5. Cliff Lee for J.C. Ramirez, Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies (2010): A dark day for Phillies fans (little did we know we would soon get Lee back as a free agent). None of the prospects we received is certain to become a major leaguer. The only thing that kept this from being a true disaster is that it allowed the Phils to free up the money needed to sign Roy Halladay.
4. Curt Schilling for Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla (2000): Not a total disaster. Figueroa was a total bomb, winning only 20 games in 9 years, but Padilla won 14 games in two of the six seasons he pitched here and Daal went 13-7 in his only full year in Philly. But Schilling turned out to be far from the downside of his career. After going 11-12 in 2000 (6-6 for the Phils before the trade to Arizona), he won 22 and 23 games for Arizona in 2001 and 2002, and 21 for Boston in 2004. He became a great postseason pitcher for both Arizona and Boston, of which we will always be reminded by the legendary bloody sock game. (Really, though, what's a little blood on your ankle?)
3. Placido Polanco for Ramon Martinez and Ugueth Urbina (2005): A real bomb! Martinez played only a year here, logging just 56 at-bats. Urbina also lasted just 1 year going 4-3, with an ERA of 4.13 and one save. Although he was said to be the key to bolstering the bullpen, by the next year, he was out of baseball. Polanco, who was hitting .316 at the time of the trade, hit .338 for Detroit in 86 games in 2005, .341 in 2007, .307 in 2008 and won two Gold Gloves. The trade doesn't get an F only because we had the good sense to finally get Placido back.
2. Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa for Ivan de Jesus (1982): A colossal disaster. He was supposed to solidify the Phillies infield, but de Jesus hit just .239 his first year and was average at best in the field. He played only 3 years here then only 82 major league games after that. Bowa was serviceable for four seasons with the Cubs, and Sandberg - who the Phillies didn't believe could be a big-league starter - became a Hall of Fame second baseman, a 10-time All-Star and a nine-time Gold Glove winner. In 15 years with the Cubs he hit 282 home runs, drove in 1,061 runs and averaged .285. As bad a trade as any made in the last 50 years . . . except one.
1. Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez for Freddy Garcia (2006): Oh my God. Freddy was going to be a big part of the rotation, but, well, you know what happened - Freddy won one game for the Phillies with a whopping 5.90 ERA. He was gone after that abysmal year. Floyd and Gonzalez have gone on to become two of the best young starters in the American League. In 5 years, Floyd has won 45 games for the White Sox, including 2008 when he went 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA. The Sox also erred by trading Gonzalez to Oakland where he has become an All-Star. He went 15-9 last year with a 3.23 ERA, and this year he has won eight games and has a 2.47 ERA. What makes the colossal blunder even worse is that Freddy found his way back to the White Sox, where he went 12-6 in 2010. This year he has won seven games for the Yankees with a 3.13 ERA. Unbelievable!
So the moral of this analysis Phillies fans is, "Be careful what you wish for!"