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.
Michael Young from the Blue Jays to the Rangers for Esteban Loaiza, July 19, 2000: At the time the deal looked good for the Blue Jays, who were 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees. Loaiza would shore up the rotation and nobody had heard of Young, a minor league infielder. But Loaiza was ho-hum in 2000 (the Blue Jays finished third) and worse the next two years. Young became the Rangers' shortstop in 2001 and has been rock-solid for 12 years, batting .302, closing in on 2,000 hits and making seven All-Star teams.