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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Let's make a deal

Kevin Mench was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers with three other Texas Rangers in exchange for Carlos Lee and a minor leaguer. I thought with the trade deadline being here that I would take a look at the six most memorable trades involving native Delawareans.

#6 Bill Johnson and Dick Ruthven for Willie Hernandez. The Phillies dealt Johnson and Ruthven to the Chicago Cubs in May of 1983 to improve their bullpen. Hernandez pitched well, helping the Phillies claim the National League pennant. The Phillies dealt Hernandez and Dave Bergman to the Detroit Tigers at season's end for Glenn Wilson and John Wockenfuss. Hernandez helped lead the Tigers to a World Championship, winning the Cy Young and MVP awards.

#5 John Mabry was a pinch-hitter for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2002. Jeremy Giambi was a slugging leftfielder for the Oakland Athletics. The A's and the Phils swapped players straight up in a trade that at the time was considered the worst that A's general manager Billy Beane had ever made. Needing to shake up a losing A's team, Beane dealt Giambi and ended up getting one of the best seasons Mabry ever put together. The A's won the American League West and the trade helped establish the perception of Beane as a genius, a perception enhanced by the publication of Michael Lewis' book Moneyball. Lost in the hype, however, was the fact that Giambi actually had a better season for the Phillies.

#4 At the conclusion of the 1974 season, during which Hank Aaron homered to pass Babe Ruth as the all-time home run leader, the Atlanta Braves dealt Aaron to the Milwaukee Brewers for Dave May and a minor leaguer. Aaron would finish up his career in Milwaukee, where he began his career twenty years previously.

Tomorrow, the top three trades.


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