I don't know about you, but I am not exactly overwhelmed with excitement for the trade-deadline. With all due respect to Jamey Carroll, when he is the biggest name being bandied about with regard to your team, it's not exactly going to merit a parade through downtown Phoenix. In contrast to last year, when the last week of July saw a pair of highly-significant Diamondbacks trades, this year might see the team do very little: perhaps adding a bullpen arm, maybe an infielder like Carroll. Or they might even stand pat entirely, opting to be neither buyers nor sellers, but becoming the baseball equivalent of Switzerland.
After the jump, we'll take a look at the history of the D-backs July trades, and see how this deafening silence compares to previous years.
As noted, I'm using a somewhat loose definition of "trade deadline". Pretty much any deal done in July can count. The two main questions are "Did it work?", which looks at the immediate impact of the trade on Arizona the rest of that season, and "Would you do it again?" - that takes a more long-term view of the deal and its implications for both sides. WAR values are from baseball-reference.com, which was also the source for the transaction information.
1998: July 31. Traded Willie Blair, Jorge Fabregas and cash to the New York Mets. Received Nelson Figueroa, Bernard Gilkey and cash. Did it work? Not really. The team improved from .367 ball up to that point. playing almost even (25-28) the rest of the way. But Gilkey hit only .246 over 161 games for Arizona. Would you do it again? Hell, no. Not necessarily for the players involved, none of whom amount to much. No, it's more that GIlkey is still getting paid, and will be through 2017 - 16 years after his last game in the majors.
1999: July 8. Traded a player to be named later (Abraham Nunez), Vladimir Nunez and Brad Penny to the Florida Marlins. Received Matt Mantei. Did it work?: Yes. The D-backs were a decent 47-39 on the day, second in the NL West. But they went 53-23 the rest of the way, Mantei saving 22 games, with a 2.79 ERA, though did take the loss in the final game of the NLDS against the Mets. Would you do it again? No. Penny alone was worth 8.2 WAR for the Marlins; Mantei only 2.7 WAR for us, his career in AZ largely crippled by injuries. We also gave him a contract extension that ranks among the worst in franchise history.
2000: July 26. Traded Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Travis Lee and Vicente Padilla to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received Curt Schilling. Did it work? Not initially. The D-backs led the West with a 56-45 record, but stumbled down the stretch, going sub-.500 and finishing third. Schilling went 5-6 with a decent, rather than spectacular, 3.69 ERA. Would you do it again? Well, duh: in a heart-beat. But let's go to the tape anyway. Over four years, Curt piled up 20.9 WAR as part of the devastating 1-2 punch that took us to the World Series. Padilla did stick around for six years as a Phillie, but the quartet combined for only 8.2 WAR.
2001: July 25.: Traded Nick Bierbrodt and Jason Conti to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Received Mike Difelice and Albie Lopez. Did it work? Arizona actually played worse after the deal, but fortunately, the second-placed Dodgers were worse still. Lopez was a decent rental, giving us 13 starts at a four ERA, but went 0-2 with a 9.95 ERA in the post-season, taking a loss in Game 5 of the World Series. Difelice appeared in 12 games, was arrested for assault and quickly released by the team. Would you do it again? Yes. Bierbrodt and Conti ended up at zero WAR for Tampa, and Lopez was useful down the stretch, though hard to claim we won the World Series as a result.
2002: July 6. Traded Duaner Sanchez to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Received Mike Fetters. Did it work? We picked up about 25 points of W% post-trade; even if Fetters had a 5.11 ERA in 33 appearances for us. Remained a fan favorite, however, due to energy and contorted facial expressions. Would you do it again? Yes, purely for the immortal amusement in Mark Grace's impersonation of Fetters, when pitching in a blowout against the Dodgers that September. Sanchez allowed 15 ER over 8.1 innings with the Pirates, so it was a small price to pay for a memorable moment, even if he did go on to enjoy some decent years out of the Dodgers bullpen.
2003: July 29. Traded John Prowl, David Dellucci and Bret Prinz to the New York Yankees. Received Raul Mondesi and cash. Did it work? Yes, in the sense that Mondesi hit .302 and his .884 OPS trailed only Gonzo among those with significant playing time. But not really, since Arizona were already 11 1/2 back, and ended up in third, 16 1/2 games behind. Would you do it again? No. Mondesi was decent, but was only a half-year rental in a cause that was already lost. Prinz did nothing, and Dellucci was granted free-agency by the Yankees. But he did have some decent years thereafter, peaking in 2005 with a 2.5 WAR season for Texas.
2004: July 31. Traded Steve Finley and Brent Mayne to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Reggie Abercrombie, Koyie Hill and Bill Murphy. Did it work? For LA, it did. Finlay hit 13 HR in 58 games, including a division-clinching, walk-off grand-slam on October 2nd. With AZ 28.5 games out, the team was in full-on sell mode. The loss of Finlay didn't hurt much. Would you do it again? Sure: why not? If you ain't going to win this year, dumping veterans for pieces that may help you going forward is a sensible policy. Admittedly, none of the three received ever amounted to much, but the philosophy was sound.
2005: July 21. Traded Matt Kata to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received Tim Worrell and cash.
July 30. Traded Jose Cruz and cash to the Boston Red Sox. Received Kenny Perez and Kyle Bono. Did it work? The D-backs were 4.5 back at the time of the first trade, seeking to upgrade their builpen. Worrell had a 2.27 ERA, but Arizona's W% was little changed. Oddly, nine days later, we were in salary dump mode, swapping Cruz for two prospects. Would you do it again? The Kata trade, not the Cruz one. Jose had a .903 OPS for the Sox and Dodgers. We finished 5 1/2 out, and the 2.3 WAR he delivered after the deal might have made things interesting.
2006: With nothing at the actual deadline, the nearest we can find is a deal for a player who had passed through waivers. August 7: Traded Matt Chico and Garrett Mock to the Washington Nationals. Received Livan Hernandez and cash. Did it work? Not that year. The .500 Diamondbacks went 20-30 the rest of the way. However, through the end of 2007, Livan had a 2.8 WAR for us, climaxing in that glorious victory over the Cubs at Wrigley to clinch the NLDS. Would you do it again? Yes. There were qualms about this one at the time, but to date, it has been a win for Arizona. Neither starter has performed consistently and Chico was released by Washington earlier this week.
2007: July 27. Traded Scott Hairston to the San Diego Padres. Received Leo Rosales. Did it work? No, Rosales didn't play any part the rest of the season, while Hairston had eight HR in only 87 AB for the Padres. However, Arizona still won the division. Would you do it again? No. Hairston was worth 5.1 WAR to the Padres through the end of 2009, while Rosales has been below replacement-level or worse for Arizona, with an ERA fractionally above five. When we said 'Free Scott Hairston', we didn't mean we were offering him to another team for free... We can perhaps blame this one on to the Eric Byrnes extension, along with the banking crisis and global warming.
2008: July 17: Traded Evan Scribner to the San Diego Padres. Received Tony Clark.
July 22: Traded Emilio Bonifacio to the Washington Nationals. Received Jon Rauch. Did it work? No. Clinging to a one-game lead at the time of these trades, the reigning champions struggled and finished second. The new players were no help: Clark hit .206 - more like "Nobody, anytime" - and Rauch went 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA. Would you do it again? "Outlook not so good." Scribner debuted for the Padres this year, but the 26-year old hasn't impressed. However, after doing little in Washington, Bonifacio is having a nice year with the Marlins, posting a 110 OPS+.
Bonus 2008! August 11. Traded Dallas Buck, Wilkin Castillo and Micah Owings to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Adam Dunn and cash. Did it work? See above for the overall scenario, though Dunn did at least
hit walk his weight down the stretch, with a 44:42 K:BB ratio, leading to a .417 OBP and .889 OPS. Would you do it again? Yes. Buck and Castillo have basically been zeroes. Owings was below replacement level when with the Reds, and he is now back here, so it's like he never left.
2009: July 7. Traded Tony Pena to the Chicago White Sox. Received Brandon Allen.
July 19. Traded Felipe Lopez to the Milwaukee Brewers. Received Roque Mercedes and Cole Gillespie. Did it work? Arizona went 35-49 before the first trade, 35-43 after it, so I guess the moves did no harm. On the other hand, Allen's 202 in 116 PAs was the only contribution from the arriving players that year. Would you do it again? Yes. Again, the principle is fine, an out of contention team dealing for the future. Allen, in particular, seemed like he might prove worthwhile. It hasn't happened: guess that's why they're called "prospects".
2010:July 25. Traded Dan Haren to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Received Tyler Skaggs, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez and Joe Saunders.
July 30. Traded Edwin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox. Received David Holmberg (minors) and Daniel Hudson. These are only the tip of a very busy July, which is partly why this one feels so dead in comparison. We also moved Chad Qualls and Chris Snyder, plus released Dontrelle Willis. Did it work? 22 games out when Haren was dealt, one does wonder where we might be this year if we still had Dan. Skaggs and Corbin are nice future pieces though. Hudson outperformed Jackson the rest of the way, so that's an obvious yes. Would you do it again? Hudson - in a millisecond. But the Haren trade? Seems like a good opinion poll question...