5 Trades Worse Than Mookie Betts to the Dodgers

The baseball world was stunned after the details had been announced. Mookie Betts and David Price were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Alex Verdugo, shortstop Jeter Downs, and catcher Connor Wong.

Verdugo and Downs are great young players and should help the Red Sox win in the future. However, Boston traded away Betts. Arguably the second-best player in the MLB behind Mike Trout. Betts’ 33.8 wins above replacement since 2016 places second to only Mike Trout. Betts is a five-tool, former MVP caliber player. If the Sox were truly going to trade him, many assumed Boston would receive a king’s ransom.

Instead, Red Sox ownership valued money over Betts’ talent. With Mookie being a free agent after the season, Boston’s attempts to re-sign him failed. They decided to trade him away rather than cough up the cash necessary to keep their once in a lifetime player.

This trade makes the Dodgers the World Series favorites as their offense could be the best in the league. The deal itself will likely go down as one of the most questionable in MLB history.

But Major League Baseball has been around since 1869. In its lifespan, plenty of teams have made serious blunders. While the Betts deal will be in MLB, and certainly Red Sox’ fans heads, for the foreseeable future, it’s important to note that not every team gets it right.

David Cone to the New York Yankees

For his career, David Cone appeared in 450 games and compiled a 194-126 record with a 3.46 ERA and a 2,688/1,137 K/BB ratio. More importantly, Cone was a five-time All-Star, one-time CY Young award winner, one-time Perfect Game-thrower and a five-time World Series Champion. Four of those rings came with the New York Yankees.

In 1995, the Toronto Blue Jays traded Cone to the Yankees for Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis, and Mike Gordon.

Janzen appeared in 27 games for the Blue Jays, pitching to a 6-7 record and a 6.39 ERA. Jarvis never appeared in the major leagues. Neither did Gordon.

Two of Cone’s All-Star bids came with the Yankees. He had a stellar 1998 season in New York, winning 20 games. His Perfect Game was with the Yankees. Cone won four different titles with the Yankees, owning a 2.12 ERA in the World Series.

The Blue Jays gave him away for 27 games of Marty Janzen.

John Smoltz to the Atlanta Braves

John Smoltz is one of the greatest pitchers of all time. For his 22-year career, all but one year with the Atlanta Braves, Smoltz racked up a 213-155 record with a 3.33 ERA and a 3,084/1,010 K/BB ratio. Smoltz also racked up 154 saves in his career including a 55-save season in 2002.

The Braves’ great is an eight-time All-Star, one-time CY Young award winner and a World Series champion with the 1996 Braves. Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves. He was voted to the MLB Hall of Fame in 2015, his first year on the ballot.

The Braves acquired him from the Detroit Tigers in 1987 for pitcher Doyle Alexander. The Tigers were in the midst of a division battle and decided Alexander helped their chances more than a prospect named Smoltz.

Alexander did help the Tigers win the division, which he did. He then went on to be an All-Star in 1988. But by 1989, Alexander finished the year with a 6-18 record and was out of the league entirely.

Smoltz became an MLB legend while the Tigers lost in the American League Championship Series to the Minnesota Twins.

Jeff Bagwell to the Houston Astros

While Betts will be on Red Sox’ minds for a while, it certainly wasn’t the only trade made by the franchise that upset fans.

Jeff Bagwell was a native of Boston, and the Red Sox kept him close to home when they selected him in the fourth round of the 1989 draft. While he shined in the minor leagues, the Red Sox didn’t keep him for long, trading him to the Houston Astros for relief pitcher Larry Andersen.

Like the Tigers, the Red Sox were in the middle of a pennant race and sought pitching. Andersen helped them win the AL East in 1990, but it was all the Red Sox would get from him. Andersen appeared in four total games with Boston before signing with the San Diego Padres a year later.

Bagwell, on the other hand, went on to spend 15 years with the Astros. In that time he hit .297 with 449 home runs, 1,529 RBI and 202 stolen bases. He was a five-time All-Star, the Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the National League MVP in 1994.

The Red Sox got four games for Bagwell, who was voted to the Hall of Fame in 2017.

Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals

The Mark McGwire trade is arguably the most reminiscent of this list to Betts. He was traded in the middle of the 1997 season after he had already hit 34 home runs. He was a free agent the following season and the Oakland Athletics were worried they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him.

In return, the A’s received T.J. Matthews, Eric Ludwick, and Blake Stein. Matthews pitched five years with Oakland, compiling a 24-15 record with a 4.78 ERA. Ludwick spent just six games with the A’s pitching to a 1-4 record and an 8.25 ERA. Stein spent two years with the Athletics, pitching to a 5-9 record and a 6.60 ERA.

McGwire, on the other hand, spent five years with the Cardinals, hitting .270 with 220 home runs and 473 RBI. He held the single-season record for home runs hit in a season with 70 in 1998 before Barry Bonds broke it in 2001 with 73. McGwire also holds the fourth spot for most home runs in a season with 65 in 1999. Overall, during his 17 seasons in the league, McGwire hit 583 home runs, 11th most in MLB history.

McGwire was a 12-time All-Star and two-time World Series champion. While his legacy will always be brought down due to his publicized steroids scandal, the Athletics traded one of the best power hitters of all time for a combined seven years of mediocre pitching.

Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees

While this Betts trade might be bad for now, the Red Sox were apart of arguably the worst trade in MLB history.

In six years with Boston, Ruth hit .308 with 49 home runs. In 1919 he was traded to the New York Yankees for $25,000. The rumor is that the money was used so that then-owner Henry Frazee could finance a new play.

Ruth went on to spend 15 years with the Yankees, hitting .349 with 659 home runs and 1,978 RBI. His 714 career home runs still rank third-most in major league history. He is the MLB career leader in slugging percentage and OPS with .690 and 1.164 respectively.

Simply put, Ruth is arguably the greatest baseball player who ever lived. He won seven World Series championship and was one of the first five members of MLB’s Hall of Fame. The Great Bambino is synonymous with baseball and one of the all-time legends.

The Red Sox traded him for what would’ve been $369,446 in 2020.

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