Top 5 Trades of the 2007 Baseball Winter Meetings

The recent MLB Winter Meetings, combined with the trade that sent Carlos Quentin to the Padres reminded me of the last time that Kenny Williams and Josh Byrnes hooked up in a Quentin trade, the 2007 Winter Meetings. Only one “major” trade took place during the meetings, but the four other trades had impacts of their own down the road.

1. Tigers Trade for Miguel Cabrera

Tigers Received:
3B Miguel Cabrera
LHP Dontrelle Willis

Marlins Received:
OF Cameron Maybin
LHP Andrew Miller
C Mike Rabelo
RHP Eulogio De La Cruz
RHP Burke Badenhop
RHP Dallas Trahern

This was obviously the deal of the Winter Meetings. Cabrera has been an offensive powerhouse for the Tigers and has been mentioned in the AL MVP vote about every season he’s been there. Willis is another story, he fell apart after moving to Detroit and was never the dominant pitcher he once was. Regardless, Dombrowski extended him and paid dearly for it. He found limited success last season, but not with the Tigers.

Maybin struggled in Florida, but a change of scenery in San Diego has helped. The Marlins received to relievers on their end for him. Andrew Miller was ineffective and has since been traded to Boston. Rabelo spent some time as a backup catcher for the Marlins, but never hit enough to hold the position long enough.

Cruz was bounced around in a number of roles and found him self on the Padres and the Brewers after the trade. He did have some success this season in Milwaukee’s pen, though it was a Bey limited sample. Badenhop has been the most useful of the three eighties in this deal, pitching over 50 innings out of the pen the past couple seasons before being traded to the Rays this winter. Trahern never hit his stride and therefore never reached the majors.

This trade was an obvious win for the Tigers, even with Willie’s ineffectiveness and contract as well as Cabrera’s off field issues.
2. White Sox pick up Hard Hittin’ Carlos Quentin

White Sox Received:
OF Carlos Quentin

Diamondbacks Received:
1B Chris Carter

Since Kenny Williams and Josh Byrnes teamed up to trade Carlos Quentin again this winter, reviewing this trade seems appropriate. From a player to player comparison, Kenny Williams obviously won this trade for the White Sox as Quentin has been a productive middle of the order bat for the team since he was traded for. His defense on the other hand….

Carter was D-Back property for 11 days as he was flipped to Oakland as part of a trade for Dan Haren. Although Byrnes didn’t win by value for value, he used Carter’s value at the time as a piece to land Haren, Carter’s value has since dropped. Chris has since had some decent seasons in the minors, but hasn’t excelled in the majors. He will have to push past a potential “Four-A” hitter label this season if he wishes to have a Major League career.

 

3. Nationals obtain Clippard

Yankees Received:
RP Jonathan Albaladejo

Nationals Received:
SP Tyler Clippard

The Yankees were looking for a pitcher to fill a middle relief role. Albaladejo was a hard thrower that performed well in an audition with the Nationals in 2007, pitching to a 1.88 ERA and a 0.628 WHIP. But the walks hit him hard in New York and he never posted a WHIP below 1.50 in parts of three seasons with the Yankees. Clippard on the other hand would eventually move into a role that the Yankees would’ve loved for Albaladejo to develop into. He has become the setup man for the back-end of the bullpen and has even closed a few games. Tyler has excelled in relief and had his best season yet in 2011 with a 1.83 ERA, a 0.838 WHIP, 10.6 K/9 and an All Star Game appearance.

 

4. Braves Snatch Infante

Braves Recieved:
IF Omar Infante
LHP Will Ohman

Cubs Recieved:
RHP Jose Ascanio

The Braves filled their short-term needs with this deal. Ohman was a vaible lefty out of the pen in 2008 and saw a career high in innings pitched, along with career lows in BB/9 and HR/9. He left via free agency after the season. Infante had three very good seasons as a utility infielder in Atlanta, including an All Star selection in 2010. He was then used in the Dan Uggla deal after that season.

Ascaino’s 2007 season at Double-A proved to be an abberation and he wasn’t successful  in various trips to the Majors with the Cubs and then the Pirates.

 

5. Nationals pick up Hazardous Dukes

This was a tough one to decide on as the rest of the trades didn’t really help any team much. The Freddy Guzman for Chris Shelton trade was intriguing as I was always interested in Guzman and his speed (90 SB in the minors in 2003). But both players became “Four-A” players during their peak. The Tigers traded Jose Capellan to the Rockies for Denny Bautista. Everyone drooled over Bautista’s strikeouts during his career, but his walks were loathsome. Although he pitched to a 3.32 ERA in Detroit, his 1.526 WHIP didn’t make him a keeper. Finally, it was settled that the Elijah Dukes to the Nationals trade had the biggest impact, in more ways than one.

Nationals Received:
OF Elijah Dukes

Rays Received:
LHP Glenn Gibson

Dukes was known for his hot head as much as his potential talent. The Nationals gave him his best chance in the Majors and he hit a respectable .256/.359/.430 in two seasons, including an .864 OPS in 2008. He didn’t hit that well in his second season there and spent plenty of time in the minors. Dukes hasn’t been back to the Majors since.

Gibson fell apart after moving to the Rays. He displayed a very nice 1.069 WHIP in Low-A for Nationals system before being shipped out, but a 1.894 for the Rays the next year. He never returned to the success he had in 2007.

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