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Biggest MLB Deadline Trade from Past 5 Seasons

MLB Trade Deadline

The 2019 MLB Trade Deadline is now less than a week away. Not too much has surfaced yet, but it should in due time. Every year, there’s almost always at least one huge deal made by a team trying to win the World Series. Here is one of, if not the most notable trades made at the deadline from each of the past five seasons:

(This list includes trades from the non-waiver deadline of July 31 or earlier)

2014: Tigers, Mariners and Rays Make a Deal

  • Tigers acquire David Price
  • Mariners acquire Austin Jackson
  • Rays acquire Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin

This trade was part of a three team deal that sent David Price to the playoff hunting Detroit Tigers. Even though the Tigers lost the ALDS to the Baltimore Orioles, Price surprisingly delivered in the playoffs. He only had one start in the series, but he went eight innings allowing just two runs in a 2-1 loss that ended the series in a sweep.

Austin Jackson didn’t perform well for the Mariners in 2014, as he slashed .229/.267/.260 through 223 at-bats. He played the 2015 season with them as well before being traded to Cubs later on that year.

The Rays got a quality starter in Drew Smyly. The year he was traded in 2014 gave him seven starts with his new club, resulting in a 1.70 ERA. He stayed with the team trough 2016 before not being in the majors for the 2017-2018 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. He started 2019 with the Rangers, and signed with the Philles just days ago. As for Nick Franklin, he didn’t give much to the Rays. He’s currently in the Angles farm system.

Trade Winner: If there had to be a winner, it’d be the Rays because they got some use out of Smyly. The Tigers got a great outing from Price in October, but didn’t capitalize.

2015 Trade Deadline: Rangers Acquire Solid Pitchers

  • Rangers acquire Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman and cash
  • Phillies acquire Jorge Alfaro, Matt Harrison, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Nick Williams and Jake Thompson

The 2015 MLB trade deadline was crazy to say the least, as all 30 teams made a move before July 31 was over. Picking one was tough, but this trade stands out as one of the most blockbuster of the year.

Texas Rangers
Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker USA Today Sports

Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman are still major league pitchers today, and back in 2015 they were big-time names. Cole Hamels finished the season with the Rangers at a 3.66 ERA. He then went 0-1 in the postseason even though his ERA was just 2.70. He started two games and gave up just four earned runs. However, nine total runs were allowed, so five of them were unearned. Jake Diekman threw six postseason innings and only allowed a run. The pitchers definitely gave Texas what they were looking for, but they fell to Toronto in the 2015 ALDS. The series concluded in five games when Bautista had his signature bat “flip.”

Trade Winner: Both teams got something out of this. The Rangers had a great ALDS run, and the Phillies ended up using some of these players to get J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins.

2016: The Cubs add a Flamethrower

  • Cubs acquire Aroldis Chapman
  • Yankees acquire Gleybar Torres, Adam Warren, Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford
Aroldis Chapman
Image courtesy of Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports from

The Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 in 2016. Adding an arm like Chapman is almost a guaranteed boost to the team. “The Cuban Missile” had just a 1.01 ERA in the regular season with Chicago, with a WHIP of 0.825. This trend continued into October as he posted a respectable 3.45 ERA against some tough opponents, including the Dodgers and the Indians.

The Yankees got a great prospect when they received Gleybar Torres at the MLB trade deadline. He’s currently playing great with the Yankees, hitting for power and showing off his defense. Adam Warren was with New York since 2012 before he started 2016 with the Cubs. He’s pitched well throughout his career and gave the Yankees some memorable seasons.

Trade Winner: This is another trade that benefited both teams. The Cubs gave away quite a bit, but still ended the longest World Series drought ever. The Yankees were smart about the trade as they got a solid big leaguer in Torres as well as getting Aroldis Chapman back via free agency.

2017: Multiple Veterans on the Move

  • Yankees acquire Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle
  • White Sox acquire Tyler Clippard, Ian Clarkin, Blake Rutherford and Tito Polo
MLB Trade Deadline
Image courtesy of

The Yankees went all-in on this trade, adding some bullpen arms and a veteran presence. Robertson went back to his former team after a few seasons in Chicago. He pitched 35 innings and ended the season with the Yankees at a 1.03 ERA. Frazier slashed .222/.365/.423 with 11 home runs which is one of the biggest reasons that the Yankees wanted him. This team lost the 2017 ALCS to the Astros in seven games.

The White Sox only have Blake Rutherford left from the trade, and he’s currently in the double-A. Other than that, not much came from the prospects they received in the trade.

Trade Winner: The Yankees easily won this trade as they gave their fanbase an eventful October. If Rutherford pans out for the White Sox this trade will look a little better, but for now it’s one the team wants to forget.

2018: Archer Traded to Pittsburgh

  • Pirates acquire Chris Archer
  • Rays acquire Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows

This trade didn’t seem like a big one at the time as neither the Rays nor Pirates came within five games of the second Wild Card spot.

MLB Trade Deadline
Image courtesy of

Archer is not working as planned in Pittsburgh. He hasn’t seen an ERA below 4.00 since he was traded. The Pirates are also in the closest division in the NL Central. As of July 24, Archer has a 5.40 ERA on the season through 96 1/3 innings pitched. This is not even close to what the Pirates were hoping for.

The Rays made possibly one of the best trades in franchise history with this one. Tyler Glasnow is currently on the injury list, but he has a 1.86 ERA through eight starts so far this year. Austin Meadows made the 2019 All-Star Game and is slashing .288/.362/.519 through his first 82 games of the season. He’s helped put Tampa Bay in a position to make the playoffs.

Trade Winner: The Rays really made out well with this one. Both guys look as though they can have solid MLB careers.

2019 will be the first MLB Trade Deadline that ends on July 31, meaning there is no longer a non-waiver deadline.


Feature image courtesy of Zimbio.

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