Biggest Trades Of All Time In Baseball 

Baseball is a rich sport and the trades are huge. A team’s ability to trade is very important. So who made the biggest trades?

Every baseball season comes with the potential of the best trade deals. Some of which even occur during the off-season. There have been a few trades throughout History that have stunned us just as much as recent ones. Keep reading to find out what some of the biggest and best trades of all time in baseball are! 

  1. February 1, 2021: Rockies trade Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals for  Austin Gomber, Mateo Gil, Elehuris Montero, Tony Locey, and Jake Sommers  

Arenado’s Rockies career reached an end with an offseason trade to the Cardinals after marking an eight-year extension with the Rockies during the Spring Training of 2019.  

Arenado has won the gold glove eight times, the second-longest streak of such distinctions to begin a player’s career. Aneroid is also a five-time All-Star and has won an impressive four Silver Slugger Awards. Following six consecutive years with roughly a .500 slugging rate from 2014 to 2019, Arenado had a down year in the shortened season of 2020, slugging .434 with a batting average of .253. That said, he also missed time in September due to a shoulder injury. In 2019, he posted a career-best batting average of .315 and his current best WAR mark, at 6.7.  

The move gives the Cardinals a Gold Glove-type defense at both corners, with Arenado and another previous NL West acquisition, Paul Goldschmidt, at first base.   

  1. December 28, 2020: The Cubs trade Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to the Padres for Owen Caissie,  Reginald Preciado, Yeison Santana, Ismael Mena, and Zach Davies  

San Diego managed to pull off a stunning pair of blockbuster trades in an unbelievable 24 hours, landing two of the best pitchers in baseball: Darvish and Blake Snell.   

The Padres made a triumvirate of aces on their starting rotation entering the 2021 season in two fell plunges. Darvish, Snell, and the local Dinelson Lamet quickly set themselves to go up against the Dodgers for dominance in the National League West. They managed to successfully pry Darvish away from the NL Central top dog Cubs for a group of four young prospects who could assist with renewing Chicago’s farm system(in addition to one established starter in Davies).  

In 2020, Darvish was the runner-up for the NL CY Young Award and one of the league’s top starters from the second half of 2019 onwards. Snell was the head of a Rays pitching staff that had recently gotten the team to the World Series and was only two years away from winning the AL CY Young Award. Furthermore, Lamet was the Padres’ breakout ace of 2020, coming fourth in the NL CY Young Award ballot, only two places behind Darvish.  

 That said, those two exchanges weren’t even the only huge moves San Diego made on its day-long holiday spree. The Padres likewise agreed to an arrangement with star Korean shortstop Ha-Seong Kim.   

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  1. July 13, 2007: Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade to Texas; Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Atlanta. 

The Rangers knew they were receiving some extraordinary talent as a trade-off for Teixeira. However, nobody could have foreseen the mind-blowing haul that it ended up being. The entirety of the players that Texas got (except for Salty) is with the major league club and have been significant contributors to Texas’ new strength of the American League.   

Getting Mark Teixeira was no joking matter. From the trade cutoff in 2007 to the cutoff  in 2008 when he was managed, he played in 154 games, hit 37 home runs, and drove in 134 runs while also batting  

.295. Those numbers aren’t child’s play, and had they been in the same season, it would have been one of the better individual offensive seasons in Atlanta Braves history.   

Ron Mahay had an excellent 14-year career as a fireman and was acceptable down the stretch after his acquisition, posting a 2.25 ERA in over 30 appearances for the Atlanta Braves. He teamed up with Kansas City for the 2008 season. 

  1. January 5, 1902: Babe Ruth to NYY; $100,000 ($1.3 million in present-day terms) to Boston 

There was never really any doubt. There isn’t much else you can say other than that the Yankees won four titles during Ruth’s time, the Red Sox didn’t win one for a very long time (86 years), and numerous people still consider Ruth to be the best baseball player ever. Thinking about the return, this is by far the best trade that ever existed.  

The trade paid off, in spades, for New York, as Ruth proceeded to crush his home run record in 1920, hitting an impressive 54 home runs. He managed to connect for 59 home runs in 1921, ruling the game and expanding Yankee incomes to the point that the team could leave the Polo Grounds (shared with the New York Giants team). They built their very own Yankee Stadium, which opened in 1923 and became popularly known as “the house that Ruth built.” Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, Frazee’s unbalanced trade legacy continued to hover over major league baseball as the Yankees went on to win 39 AL pennants and 26 World Series titles. In contrast, the Red Sox went 86 years without a World Series win. The Yankees were a play to win team, unrivaled and unmatched.  

In 2004, the Sox at long last shook the “Curse of the Bambino,” fighting against imminent loss to beat the Yankees in the AL Championship and beating the St. Louis Cardinals to win their very first Series since 1918.  

  1. August 12, 1987: John Smoltz to Atlanta; Doyle Alexander to Detroit 

If only the Tigers realized they were parting with probably the best pitcher of his entire generation. Smoltz is the only player at any point to have more than 200 wins, and more than 150 saves as a major league pitcher, and he is one of just two pitchers (Eckersley being the other) to get a 20-win season and a 50-save season.  

Smoltz additionally won the National League Cy Young Award in 1996, going 24-8 with an earned-run average of 2.94 while striking out 276 players in just 253.2 innings. One of the more notable moments in his career came during the 1991 World Series when he went up against Minnesota Twins pitcher Jack Morris for 7.1 scoreless innings in Game 7. The Twins would ultimately win in the tenth inning with a run off the Braves bullpen. 

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About the Author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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