Activity was frantic at the Major League baseball trading deadline. The Rockies received four prospects from the Indians for star pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. The Astros got similar hauls from the Phillies for outfielder Hunter Pence and from the Braves for outfielder Michael Bourn. The Mets acquired highly regarded minor league pitcher Zack Wheeler from the Giants for outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Will any of those be regarded as one of the most lopsided deadline deals in baseball history?
Maybe Jimenez will be as effective as Tom Seaver after he went from the Mets to the Reds in 1977. Perhaps Pence or Bourn will have a Hall-of-Fame career like Lou Brock. Or Wheeler will become as good as John Smoltz after he was shipped from the Tigers to the Braves in 1987.
One-sided midseason deals essentially fall into two categories: A star (Tom Seaver, David Cone, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, etc.) is traded for prospects that never make it. Or an unheralded minor leaguer becomes a huge star (Smoltz, Jeff Bagwell, Michael Young, etc.). In either scenario, determining whether the trade is lopsided usually takes several years.
Many trades where one side fleeced the other -- including a deal immortalized in a "Seinfeld" episode -- are etched in baseball lore. Here are a baker's dozen of lopsided deadline deals.
Lou Brock from the Cubs to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, June 15, 1964: The worst midseason deal ever occurred a few hours before the deadline one day before Brock's 25th birthday, and was a textbook case of a team coveting a veteran so much that a future Hall-of-Famer was relinquished. Brock was the better player in the short term as well, helping the Cardinals to the 1964 World Series title over the Yankees by batting .348 after the trade. Brock ranks second all-time with 938 stolen bases -- including, astonishingly, a record 118 in 1974 at age 35 -- had 3,000 hits and batted .298 in 16 seasons with the Cardinals. He had a staggering OPS of 1.079 in three World Series. Broglio, a right-hander who had won 21 games in 1960, won only seven in three seasons with the Cubs before retiring.