The Sports Archives – Does Acquiring Multiple Top Prospects For Veteran Stars Pay Off?

Miguel Cabrera

Teams trading away a star player for multiple prospects try to convince their fans that they will end up with a greater number of good players.  Perhaps the best prospect haul in recent years came when Texas traded Mark Teixeira to Atlanta in 2007. The Rangers got back Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Andrus was the starting shortstop and Feliz the closer on the Rangers’ pennant-winners in 2010 and 2011 and Harrison won 18 games in 2012. Though Teixeira had 30 homers and 100 RBI each of the next four seasons and led the 2009 world champion Yankees in those categories, the Rangers have to be happy with their side of the deal, particularly since Teixeira, who has had injury issues the last two seasons, is still owed over $75 million by the Yankees. Teixeira’s issue is something you may notice if you are a big baseball fan, especially if you play fantasy baseball leagues for money — tip: stay away from Tex is you play cash fantasy baseball.

Not All Such Trades Work Out

But 2007 also saw one of the worst star-for-prospects deals. The Marlins acquired two former top-ten draft picks, outfielder Cameron Maybin, picked tenth in 2005, and pitcher Andrew Miller, picked sixth in 2006, from the Tigers in exchange for Miguel Cabrera.  Maybin, now with San Diego, has 66 steals over the last two seasons, but a career batting average of .248. Miller, now with Boston, has a career ERA of 5.43. Cabrera, meanwhile, has four straight seasons of top-five MVP finishes, winning the award in 2012 while putting up the first Triple Crown season in 45 years.

Other Trades Have Had Mixed Results

As the trading deadline approached in 2010, veteran pitchers Dan Haren and Cliff Lee were both traded for multiple prospects.  The Diamondbacks so far appear to have done well with what they got from the Angels for Haren. Tyler Skaggs, a supplemental first-round pick in 2009, was considered one of the top pitching prospects in MLB when he made his big-league debut in late May. Patrick Corbin, a second-round pick in 2009, was leading the majors in wins in early June with a 9-0 record and 2.06 ERA.

When Seattle sent Lee to Texas, they got back first baseman Justin Smoak, the 11th pick in 2008 and Blake Beavan, the 17th pick in 2007. Smoak has been a big disappointment so far for Seattle. Beavan was in the Mariners’ rotation last year, but found himself back in the minors before being recalled on June 6.

Last winter, the Mets acquired Travis D’Arnaud, a supplemental first-round pick in 2007, and Noah Syndergaard, a supplemental first-round pick in 2010, from Toronto in exchange for 2012 NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.  Dickey has struggled so far with the Blue Jays, but with D’Arnaud and Syndergaard still in the minors (and D’Arnaud recovering from a broken foot), the verdict on this trade may not be known for years. Dickey is not the great pick he used to be for fantasy baseball leagues for money. Click here to learn more on the subject.

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Ben Hargrove writes for a variety of fantasy sports sites.

Related Blogs:
Fantasy Baseball: 2013 Top 10 Closers!
Putting A-Rod in Perspective
Mark Teixeira: When Will He Start Hitting Again?

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