Dec. 3, 2007

Big Deal!

Last week, the New Jersey Buddahs and the Las Vegas Rat Pack swung a blockbuster deal. The Buddahs -- willing to sacrifice quality for quantity as they looked to shore up their protected list -- sent superstar Ichiro Suzuki to the desert, plus a fourth-round draft pick, in exchange for a seven-player package led by pitcher Joe Blanton and outfielder Corey Hart.

IchiroWas it the biggest trade of all time?

It depends on how you define "big."

It is the biggest trade in league history in terms of the most players given up by one team (seven), and it is tied with two other trades for the most players involved in a single trade (eight).

This trade also saw a draft pick changing hands, so there were a total of nine "commodities" (eight players and one pick) involved in the deal. By that measure, it is tied for fourth-biggest trade in league history.

This is the first seven-for-two trade in league history, but there have been two other trades where one side gave up seven commodities: the celebrated trade made on Draft Day, 2005, when Arkansas gave up seven (six draft picks plus C.C. Sabathia) to Hillsborough for Adrian Beltre and two picks; and the 1998 trade that saw Arkansas give up four players and three picks for three players from the Louisiana Lightning. Coincidentally, the two trades involved the same owners, Mike Matiash and Brent Campbell, the former Lightning owner who now owns Hillsborough.

The eight players changing hands is tied with two other trades - one in 2001 and the other in 1999 - for the most players involved in a single trade. The 2001 trade, between Brooklyn and Stanhope, was a six players for two players deal; the 1999 trade, between New York and Philly, exchanged five players for three players and a pick.

The bottom line? This is just the ninth trade in DMBL history involving a total of eight or more commodites. Let's take a look at those big deals.

Size Matters: The DMBL's Biggest Deals

Date Commodities Team Gets Team Gets
Feb. 26,
10 (3 for 7):
1 player,  2 picks
1 player, 6 picks
3B Adrian Beltre
'05 1st Rd (David Wright)
'06 6th Rd (Justin Morneau)
HIL SP C.C. Sabathia
'05 1st Rd (Jeremy Bonderman)
'05 2nd Rd (Coco Crisp)
'06 1st Rd (Kyle Farnsworth)
'06 3rd Rd (Bobby Jenks)
'07 2nd Rd (Josh Willingham)
'07 4th Rd (Jason Bartlett)
April 9,
10 (5 for 5):
3 players,  2 picks
3 players, 2 picks
OF Henry Rodriguez
RP John Rocker
RP Arthur Rhodes
'00 3rd Rd (Masato Yoshii)
'01 3rd Rd (Byung Hyun Kim)
HAW 1B Todd Helton
SP Scott Elarton
'00 6th Rd (Bobby Howry)
'01 5th Rd (team folded)
'01 6th Rd (team folded)
April 13,
10 (3 for 7):
3 players
4 players,  3 picks
SP Kevin Brown
SP Denny Neagle
RP Jeff Nelson
LOU 1B Andres Galarraga
OF Jose Cruz Jr.
SP Ismael Valdes
SP Tom Gordon
'99 2nd Rd (Jose Hernandez)
'99 6th Rd (Ricky Bones)
'99 9th Rd (John Hudek)
Nov. 29,
9 (2 for 7):
1 player, 1 pick
7 players
OF Ichiro Suzuki
'08 4th Rd (TBD)
NJ 2B Kaz Matsui
SS Jhonny Peralta
OF Corey Hart
OF Shane Victorino
SP Joe Blanton
SP Oliver Perez
RP George Sherrill
July 13,
9 (4 for 5):
2 players, 2 picks
3 players, 2 picks
C Tom Wilson
SP Mark Redman
'04 1st Rd (Geoff Jenkins)
'04 4th Rd (Curtis Leskanic)
NWK C Mike Piazza
SP Orlando Hernandez
RP Jayson Durocher
'04 14th Rd (Brian Schneider)
'04 15th Rd (Tomo Ohka)
Jan. 24,
9 (5 for 4):
5 players
3 players, 1 pick
1B Will Clark
3B Scott Brosius
OF Moises Alou
SP Scott Erickson
SP Mark Leiter
PHI 1B Mo Vaughn
SS Omar Vizquel
OF Rusty Greer
'99 1st Rd (J.D. Drew)
June 26,
9 (3 for 6):
3 players
2 players, 4 picks
C Dan Wilson
OF Kenny Lofton
SP Curt Schilling
VAN C Javy Lopez
OF Ryan Klesko
'99 3rd Rd (Jerry Spradlin)
'00 1st Rd (Jeff Zimmerman)
'00 3rd Rd (Henry Rodriguez)
'01 4th Rd (Jose Jimenez)
Jan. 16,
8 (6 for 2):
6 players
2 players
C Mike Lieberthal
1B Tino Martinez
OF Steve Finley
OF Bobby Higginson
SP Steve Parris
RP Turk Wendell
STP 1B Todd Helton
RP Rich Garces
Nov. 2,
8 (2 for 6):
2 players
4 players, 2 picks
OF Brian Giles
RP Armando Benitez
KEY OF Dante Bichette
OF Raul Mondesi
RP Rudy Seanez
RP Paul Shuey
'00 8th Rd (Joe Mays)
'00 11th Rd (Travis Fryman)

Not on this list is a trade almost made during the 2004 off-season that was withdrawn after several owners complained. Carlos BeltranThe deal as originally proposed - the Westwood Deductions sending OF Carlos Beltran and its first round pick to the Stanhope Mighty Men for IF D'Angelo Jimenez, OF Johnny Damon, OF Brad Wilkerson, OF Tim Salmon, SP Tom Glavine, SP Jon Garland and an 11th round pick - had nine commodities (one player and one pick for six players and one pick). Stanhope later proposed restructuring the deal to include Nick Johnson, but that deal didn't go through either. If it had, it would have been tied for the largest deal of all time, with 10 commodities (seven players and one pick for one player and one pick).

How did the non-deal work out? Of the seven players Stanhope offered in the final proposed deal, only Johnson and Wilkerson were protected; Jimenez was drafted in the 7th round, Damon in the 8th, Salmon and Garland in the 14th and Glavine in the 15th. More importantly perhaps, Westwood would use that first round pick to select SS Jose Reyes, while Stanhope would use its 11th round pick to select Tony Armas.

But it was obvious Beltran - hitting just .246 for a Deductions team en route to another bottom five finish - wasn't going to play up to his full potential as long as he was stuck in Westwood, and two months into the 2004 season, he would finally be traded (plus a 3rd round pick and a 5th round pick) to Harrison (now Las Vegas) for Derrek Lee, Corey Koskie, Kaz Matsui and Vicente Padilla. But that wouldn't be the last stop for the oft-disgruntled Beltran; two years later, Vegas would trade him to D.C., along with Alfonso Soriano, Bengie Molina and a first round pick in 2007, for Chone Figgins, Luis Castillo and a first round pick in 2006.

Chris Nabholz was the subject of one of the league's most controversial trades on Dec. 12, 1991, when the Austin Outlaws southpaw was dealt to the Scranton Sparrows for unspecified "future considerations." The cantankerous owners couldn't agree on adequate compensation and ultimately the trade was resolved through arbitration, with Scranton getting Austin's 5th and 15th round picks in 1993. Trades for "future considerations," players to be named later, cash and so on were banned after this trade. Nabholz now lives in Pottsville, Pa., where he helps coach the local high school team and at baseball camps. Click Here for past articles.