A look at trade deadlines past: 2005


In case my recent spate of posts hasn’t made it evident, I have quite the obsession with the trade deadline. It really covers all team building maneuvers, but the trade deadline is of especial fascination. Here are teams, two thirds of the way through a grueling 162-game season, deciding which of their players, veterans and prospects alike, are expendable. They have to make judgments about myriad details: what helps them now, what helps them in the future, what kind of value they should give up, and what kind of value they should get in return, just to name the obvious.

If you can cut through the wall of noise which surrounds us during times of high trade activity, it can reveal a lot about an organization’s philosophy. The problem is that we never get the full signal. Even the reporters who cover this team and deliver our daily helping of rumors don’t know everything a team considers. They don’t know some deals that almost went down. We get some of that information, but like all information of this sort there are many smokescreens which disguise a team’s true intent.

Over the next couple of days I’d like to take a look at the Yankees from 2005 through 2007 (with a possible addendum of 2008 just before the deadline on Friday) to see where they stood, where their weaknesses lied, and what moves they made. It’s tough to go back and find all of the rumors, but we can look at what they needed and what they got. We start with 2005.

Lay of the land

The Yankees, you’ll remember, started off 2005 in poor fashion, posting an 11-19 record on May 6. Many comparisons were drawn to the 1965 Yankees, who fell off a cliff. They did recover, and by July 15 were 47-41, just two and a half back of the first-place Red Sox. As every year, they were clearly buyers, and the prime target was pitching.

Like 2009, the Yankees had basically every spot filled. They could have upgraded in the outfield over Bernie Williams and Tony Womack, but it’s tough to just sit a veteran like Bernie. Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui manned the corners, while Robinson Cano played a capable second base. They could have upgraded there, but were seemingly satisfied to let Cano grow into the role.

On the pitching end, the Yanks were in a bit of a bind. Randy Johnson was pitching well, but Mike Mussina was having an off-year. Jaret Wright and Kevin Brown were hurt — surprise surprise — as was Carl Pavano at that point, though the Yanks thought they’d be getting him back. Chien-Ming Wang surprised with some solid performances, but he hit the DL with a rotator cuff issue after his July 8 start. That left the Yankees with just Johnson and Wang, and though the bullpen was in need, they needed a starter far more.

Cashman’s moves

The prospect-depleted Yanks weren’t really in a position to make a big move in 2005. They had tried to acquire Randy Johnson at the trade deadline in 2004, but their system, headed by Cano, Wang, and Dioner Navarro, wasn’t impressing the Diamondbacks at the time. With Wang and Cano on the active roster, and with Navarro gone in the Johnson deal over the winter, the cupboard was pretty bare. Cashman then took the only viable strategy: throw shit at the wall and hope something sticks.

On July 1, Cashman signed Brian Boehringer. The next day he dished the underperforming Paul Quantrill for Darrell May and Tim Redding. Two weeks after that he received Al Leiter from the Florida Marlins. On July 29 he signed Hideo Nomo. His biggest move, if you could even consider it big at the time, was trading two minor league relievers, Eduardo Sierra and Ramon Ramirez, to the Rockies for Shawn Chacon. With no good, proven veterans available to the Yanks, this is all they could really do.

To shore up the bullpen, he signed Alan Embree, freshly released by the Red Sox. Again, not a big move, but it was something, anything to shore up the mess of a bullpen, which featured the likes of Tanyon Sturtze, who was terrible after May, Scott Proctor, Felix Rodriguez, Buddy Groom, Mike Stanton, and Wayne Franklin.

How it all turned out

Strangely, one of Cashman’s biggest moves came on January 21, when he signed Aaron Small to a minor league contract. That and the trade for Chacon saved the Yankees’ season. Not that Cashman could have relied on them. They were just some shit that happen to stick to the wall at the exact right time.

Small appeared in 15 games, started nine, and famously went 10-0. His 3.20 ERA was a testament to his ability to keep the ball in the park and keep men off base — his 8.4 hits per nine is far, far below what should be expected of a player with Small’s lowly K rate. Chacon started 12 games, pitching 79 innings and allowing just 25 runs. His walk rate and his strikeout rate sucked, but like Small he allowed a small number of hits for his peripherals.

The real deadline acquisition was on the offensive side, and that was Jason Giambi. On May 14 he was hitting .200/.382/.318, and most fans thought he was done. He had, after all, missed most of the 2004 season with a pituitary tumor which most assumed was steroids-related. Without the juice, Giambi was a goner. But from this low point, when his OPS dropped below .700, Giambi exploded, hitting .289/.455/.590 the rest of the way, combining with eventual-MVP Alex Rodriguez for one of the most formidable 1-2 punches in the league.

It was the summer of luck for the Yankees. They got a few decent starts out of Leiter and Wright once he returned (before Wright fell off a cliff in his last three starts). Chacon and Small were the very definition of blind luck. They also got a run of good starts from Mussina, though he too fell off a cliff at season’s end. It’s hard to imagine any team being that lucky, considering the injuries the team suffered and the replacements they hired.

Tomorrow we’ll come back with 2006, a bit more stable of a season. Still, it’s easy to remember what the Yanks’ major needs were that July, too.

Categories : Days of Yore


  1. And there were no real quality guys available at the deadline anyway. 2005 was a quiet summer.

    Unlike recent midsummer sessions, when such talents at Carlos Beltran, Nomar Garciaparra, Kris Benson, Shannon Stewart and Aramis Ramirez changed teams, this year’s bartering did not include any blockbuster deals or superstars changing teams.

    Among the more notable players changing uniforms were Preston Wilson, Bret Boone, Joe Randa, Matt Lawton, Kyle Farnsworth, Jody Gerut, Jay Payton, Eric Byrnes, Shawn Chacon and Phil Nevin.

    After weeks of communication between buyers and sellers and endless speculation, the biggest names on the market stayed where they were, including Boston’s Manny Ramirez, Kansas City’s Mike Sweeney and Jeremy Affeldt, Texas’ Alfonso Soriano, Baltimore’s Sidney Ponson, Cincinnati’s Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns, Sean Casey and Ken Griffey Jr., Pittsburgh’s Mark Redman and Jose Mesa, Florida’s A.J. Burnett and San Francisco’s Jason Schmidt.

    This summer session was a bear market thin on top talent. There were only a handful of sellers, which further served to drive up prices of the players who were on the market. Buyers kept waiting for prices to fall, but in most cases it didn’t happen.


  2. The Scout says:

    I wonder whether Cashman’s remarkable luck that year has made him a bit too optimistic about what retreads (e.g., Snell, Arroyo) might produce this time around. Unlike 2005, there are certainly quality arms out there — if you are prepared to pay the price.

  3. John NY says:

    Good post. This year should be about building depth that we can rely on in a pinch. We have depleted major league ready talent that can pitch in when someone goes down and we need some rentals. Washburn is a great fit, if the price is right. Also, I can see Ian Snell being an awesome pickup. He’s lights out for the pirates AAA and hates the organizations so much that he doesn’t want to play for them. Sounds ripe for a nice breakout leading into the playoff run. As for positional guys, again, nothing crazy, just a steady, major league ready guy that we can pop in CF when needed.

    I see Cash looking for these types of players. And, if Boston is on the verge of getting Halladay, I say we step in and not let that happen. Do we do Joba, Romine and McCallister/Nova type deal?

    • First paragraph: Agreed on all points.

      Second paragraph: Hells no. Firstly, that’s not big enough of a package to get it done, and secondly, a panic move in response to a Boston trade proposal would be a bad move. If they get Halladay, they get him. They’ll pay a premium price. So be it.

      • DreDog says:

        I wouldn’t be surprisd to see Boston posturing with Halladay the same way they did with Johan. I know they really offered a nice deal for Johan, but once they heard the Yanks were out they pulled out faster than a a guy on prom night.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

        bet snellzy goes out each day thinking ‘i’ll prove them wrong againt today too those dirty…’

        nothing spells victory like a chip on the shoulder.

        well, except for the letters v-i-c-t-o-r-y…

        • Bonus point: Snell is a Pirate, he’s destined to play for us eventually anyway. And one of our middling, non-star-prospect starters is destined to play for the Pirates eventually too.

          I’m thinking Ryan Pope.

          • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

            …i dont know if we get them tho…the pirates are the hottest AAAA team on the east coast league right now…

          • John NY says:

            I’m not saying we actually trade for Halladay, I’m saying we step in and posture as mentioned with the Santana situation. This I agree. Yanks are not in panic mode like 2005 trade deadline. I’m just saying, we can at least manipulate certain deals so not only does the blue jays make the trading team pay dearly in players…… but also make them over pay to the point where it stings. Red Sox suffering is always a feel good.

            Halladay’s price after the trading deadline goes down dramatically. So, if the Yanks want him, we can wait.

            • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

              …i wonder if we could help out in a three-way trade that wouldn’t necessarily be expensive to us that may also allow us to add some prospects…

            • John NY says:
              July 29th, 2009 at 10:19 am

              I’m not saying we actually trade for Halladay, I’m saying we step in and posture as mentioned with the Santana situation.”

              Oh, okay then. So, you didn’t say that we should trade for Halladay. My mistake.

              John NY says:
              July 29th, 2009 at 9:52 am

              And, if Boston is on the verge of getting Halladay, I say we step in and not let that happen. Do we do Joba, Romine and McCallister/Nova type deal?”

              Wait, what?

    • DreDog says:

      If anything, I like that Snell hates his team so much. It might give him sufficient motivation to show them up and pitch well on the biggest stage.

    • V says:

      No. You don’t make a deal to keep your adversary from making it.

      Joba is better than any single player being talked about for Halladay, but the Yankees don’t have the ‘almost MLB ready’ depth to make a deal unless they include at least one of Hughes, Montero, Jackson, and that’s way too much to pay, IMO.

      I want to keep Joba and let him develop into a Halladay, rather than have to face him 6 times a year for the next 4-5 years.

      • I want to keep Joba and let him develop into a Halladay, rather than have to face him 6 times a year for the next 4-5 years.

        Especially for a divsion rival, and doubly especially because the cost savings the Jays would recoup by swapping Halladay for Joba could be reinvested to make a different part of their team better.

        Trading numerous quality young future starters to the Jays for Roy Halladay will likely help the Jays be a tougher opponent for us going forward.

      • DreDog says:

        Not to mention Halladay can “force” free agency after this year if he’s traded. Doc would be silly not to opt for free agency. He would make so much more money.

        Would you really trade Joba for a 1/3 season rental if he does opt out?

        • AndrewYF says:

          No, he can “force” a trade. You can’t just opt out of your contract without specific language in it.

        • zs190 says:

          I would be absolutely shocked if Doc does that. It’s extremely rare for a player to use that. I don’t have hard stats to back it up but I would imagine the number of players that use it when they had a no trade clause is probably 0 or close to it.

          Look, what’s the benefit of forcing a trade out when you accepted the trade to some place? If you don’t like the team, you wouldn’t accept a trade there. And if you did like it, how would 60 games change that? I don’t think Doc would gain anything by forcing a trade, that clause’s existence has been blown way out of proportion.

          • DreDog says:

            I think only Javier Vasquez has used it, but my point is that you would propbably have to sign Doc to a decent extension. If I were Doc’s agent, I wouldn’t want him to be the most abused pitcher for one more year without a long term contract in place.

            In this situation, you would end up giving prospects and FA money to a player much like the Yanks didn’t want to do with Johan.

        • Ed says:

          Halladay could demand a trade. If he doesn’t get traded by mid-March, he can opt out of the contract. That’s not something you do if your goal is to get a top dollar free agent contract, as everyone has already spent their money on free agents.

    • Joe R says:

      Dealing Joba still leaves us a hole in the rotation. Halladay would jus replace him and we would still need another starter. If you put Hughes in the rotation then the bullpen isnt nearly as lockdown. Hopefully Bruney is back to form. Probably dont have enough/nor want to spend more to get a reliever if you do take Hughes out, after acquiring Halladay IMO.

    • Jacob says:

      Making huge baseball decisions based soley on what another organization is or isn’t doing is bad baseball. If we need Halladay, we should get him. If we don’t, then we shouldn’t. The Red Sox shouldn’t affect the Yankees decision making.

    • Kiersten says:

      There is no way Boston gets Halladay. If the Jays are in fact demanding Joba AND Hughes from the Yankees, there is no way they will take Buchholz + prospects from the Sox. Unless they have some weird anti-Yankee, pro-BoSox bias. Not happening.

      • AndrewYF says:

        It could happen. Remember when that moron from Arizona demanded Soriano and Nick Johnson from the Yankees for Curt Schilling, but took Casey Fossum and Brandon Lyon from the Red Sox just to spite the Yankees? That trade destroyed Arizona.

        You’d think GMs would learn, but Riccardi is a special brand of moron.

        • Kiersten says:

          Yeah, but that was after 03, when everyone in baseball still hated the Yankees and “felt sorry” or whatever for the Sox. Things are different now and when you’re dealing with a GM in the same division. There’s no reason to believe the Jays would favor the Sox over the Yankees. And if they really want the best offer, the offer from the Phils is better anyway.

        • Chris says:

          There was a personal animosity in that case. I don’t think that’s an issue now.

          • AndrewYF says:

            You never know. Maybe Blue Jays fans are still upset that Cashman gave them a declined version of David Wells for Roger Clemens, then picked up Wells again when he was better. It’s frustrating when a team continues to run circles around your organization. Maybe Riccardi was a Blue Jays fan, and wants to even the score.

    • Stryker says:

      i don’t think it’s been mentioned RE: snell, but he’s asked to not return to the pirates because he’s suffered SEVERE depression while playing for them. he’s been close to committing suicide multiple times because of all the hate and uncertainty that surrounds them – so he’s asked to not be promoted while he gets himself right.

      here’s to hoping he pulls a greinke/votta and comes back from this strong.

  4. Jake H says:

    I remember watching all those Small starts. It was crazy.

  5. I’m about to make your head explode (probably in anger).

    I’m thinking of a pitcher to acquire at the deadline to give us some decent depth and hold the fort until the playoffs come. He’s a righty, older guy, savvy vet who’s at the end of his contract making 10M on the year (meaning we’d be on the hook for the remaining 3.6M or so, so the prospect cost can’t be much of anything), went down to the minors earlier in the year when he was struggling.

    Since he came back up on June 8th, he’s made 8 starts (4-4) and put up a 2.96 ERA with a .217/.266/.335 against and a 47/11 K/BB in 54.2 innings. He pitched into the 6th in seven of those starts, pitched into the 7th in four of them, and pitched into the 8th in three of them, so he goes deep into games. Oh, and he’s got AL East experience too.

    His name?

    Jose Contreras.

    (commence shitstorm of caterwauling and teeth nashing)

    • pollo says:

      The White Sox are still in the playoff hunt, they would never trade away Contreras. No way.

      • A) The Sox could go with a rotation of Buehrle-Danks-Floyd-Colon-Richard (and they still have Poreda a phone call away in AAA). They have the depth to consider dealing away Contreras.
        B) Their GM is Kenny Williams. He’s certifiable. Anything is possible.

        • pollo says:

          Colon? Really? You really slot him as a number 4?

          Williams is not stupid enough to trade someone who’s a big piece of their playoff run going forward. No one is.

        • Yeah, but aren’t you doing a lot of rationalizing there? Like you said, the guy’s got a 2.96 ERA in 8 starts since being activated from the DL, he’s a vet, and he’s been logging lots of innings. I get that Kenny Williams is a little… unorthodox… sometimes, but you’re asking him to give away a very valuable veteran pitcher for a very small return, in the middle of a pennant race that the Sox could win, to a team in the same league, because he’ll save approximately $3.5 million in payroll? That’s a major stretch. Williams’ team may not have the financial resources of the Yankees, but the ChiSox aren’t exactly in the same financial boat as the Pirates, and they’re in a pennant race.

          • Okay, okay, fair enough, I don’t really expect them to make a deal.

            This idea mainly came about because the idea of “Wouldn’t it be funny to see one of those deals where a guy gets traded from one team to the team in the other dugout midgame because his new team and old team are playing each other? So, since we’re facing the Sox this weekend, I looked at who we would potentially have interest in that they could potentially deal.

            That’s the best I got. Shits and giggles.

    • Kiersten says:

      They should just sign Hideki Irabu while they’re at it.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:


    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

      would that be like steve nashing?

      would chicago trade him for some parts and spare balls and some extra etc? gnah, i dont think so…

    • Chris says:

      I always thought he got a bad rap because he pitched so poorly against the Red Sox. During his time with the Yankees his ERA against the Sox was 16.44. Against everyone else it was 3.45.

      That being said, I don’t see how he’s better than Mitre at this point.

      • Tony says:

        Because Mitre blows? Have people been watching his starts? Mariano H. Rivera.

        • RichYF says:

          Mitre is a #5 and he’s got a good sinker. A lot of the hits I’ve seen were grounders hit at nobody. He’s not getting shelled out there. He got pulled from his last start way early, but it is what it is. I’ve only seen a couple of balls hit hard off of him and both stayed in the park by a good margin. I’m not sure what you expect out of a #5, but Mitre (thus far) has done fine.

        • RichYF says:

          Oh, and if you’re going to lobby for Phil Hughes to the rotation, don’t bother. I’m sure he’d be fine too, but he’s in the bullpen. Unfortunately that’s not changing, so he’s not an option until Girardi or Cash announce otherwise.

    • A.D. says:

      I’m about to make your head explode (probably in anger).

      You are correct! I was actually just thinking the other day how Contreras has been pretty good since returning from the minors.

  6. GG says:

    My feelings on that Boston rumored package, is that it won’t get it done. They will have to include Bard to get it done.

  7. A.D. says:

    Amazing some of the pure crap on that pitching staff.

  8. Tony says:

    I haven’t seen much mention of the RSN factor with Ricciardi. The guy is from Woostah, Mass. Roy ain’t coming here.

    • I’d say W-O-R-C-E-S-T-E-R, but New Englandahs are stupid, so it’s pointless.

    • DreDog says:

      According to Wiki, he roots for the Bruins and Celtics. No wonder he wants Joba AND Hughes.

      • rbizzler says:

        I think that he would also like to continue to be employed and taking a B level package from Boston isn’t going to help solidify his status. If this trade happens it will define his legacy (if you can call it that) in Toronto. Taking a middling package from Theo, combined with watching Doc dominate his team over the next 1.4 seasons, while ESPN drools over the Sox isn’t really going to do much for his job security.

        • DreDog says:

          I agree, but it makes good board fodder. I personally think his job is toast no matter what he gets for Doc though.

        • Tony says:

          It would be naive to think such things don’t play a role in these transactions. Plenty of deals go through/die based on personal relationships, why not the team you root for?

  9. Tim Kurkjian on ESPN’s live SportsCenter just now:

    Q: Will Washburn end up in the Bronx?
    A: “My guess is no… He’s good, and the Yanks want him, but also keep in mind that the Yankees asked about Brian Bannister but weren’t willing to give up anything in return; that’s pretty much how the Yankees are doing things these days, they’re not giving up their best young prospects, and it’s going to take somebody pretty good to get Jarrod Washburn away from the Mariners, not just because of how well he’s pitched lately and the fact that the Mariners aren’t out of it yet, but I had a GM tell me yesterday that he thought Washburn was going to sign long term with the Mariners, therefore Seattle shouldn’t trade him.

    Now, Seattle is listening, of course, because it’s possible they could get two young players for him and help rebuild the team and then sign him in the offseason anyway, but again, if the Yankees aren’t willing to give up a pretty good piece, they’re not gonna get Jarrod Washburn from Seattle.

  10. Bo says:

    You need the disclaimer about the Yankees having exactly 1 prospect in 2005. Hughes.

    • Jack says:

      The prospect-depleted Yanks weren’t really in a position to make a big move in 2005.

      With Wang and Cano on the active roster, and with Navarro gone in the Johnson deal over the winter, the cupboard was pretty bare.

  11. [...] We continue our look at the New York Yankees trade deadline moves with 2006. You can check out the 2005 version here. [...]

  12. [...] stop in our trade deadline series will be 2007. I mean, we all remember 2008, right? You can find 2005 here and 2006 [...]

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