Dinner with Curt Schilling: A recent history of MLB teams making deals on Thanksgiving
Go ahead, make your Hot Stove jokes now, because MLB indeed has a history of teams wheeling and dealing on the fourth Thursday of November.
It's not an extensive history by any means -- MLB general managers and players are people who like to celebrate the holiday with parades and gluttonous amounts of food just like everyone else -- but it includes three recent blockbusters on two Thanksgivings that certainly shook up the MLB landscape.
So, while you enjoy the autumnal festivities with your family, remember: Your favorite MLB team might just make the move that wins a World Series.
November 27, 2003: Theo Epstein joins the Schilling Thanksgiving
Possibly the most famous MLB Thanksgiving took place 11 years ago, inside a house in Paradise Valley, Arizona. During the great courtship of Curt Schilling following the 2003 season, then-Red Sox GM Theo Epstein pulled what we in the business call a bold move: He ate Thanksgiving dinner with the Schilling family.
Think that over for a minute: Schilling invited the man who was trying to convince him to waive his no-trade clause with the D-backs and join the Red Sox, a trade that everyone knew could make-or-break Sox fans' spirits, to share the most hallowed meal of the year. That had potential for National Lampoon-levels of awkwardness.
Or, as the New York Times put it in 2003: "The public nature of the bargaining … put increasing pressure on the Red Sox, who would have looked foolish to have traveled to Phoenix, shared Schilling's Thanksgiving dinner, then gone home empty-handed."
But as we know now, that dinner proved -- ahem -- fruitful. Schilling accepted the trade and signed with the Red Sox and, well, you know the rest:
November 24, 2005: Marlins trade Carlos Delgado, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and more
Thanksgiving 2005 saw 11 players switch teams as the result of two deals -- basically a cornucopia of moves -- both involving the Marlins.
First, the team traded Carlos Delgado (whom had just joined Florida the year before) to the Mets for first baseman Mike Jacobs, Minor League infielder Grant Psomas … and the then (relatively) unknown Yusmeiro Petit.
So how did things end up shaking out? Delgado would finish his career with the Mets, but Petit would only stay in Florida for a year before shipping off to Arizona, and then to San Francisco, where he would really come into his own.
The second deal of the night brought in the Red Sox: Two years after Epstein dined with the Schillings, he was back to work on Turkey Day.
That Thanksgiving, the Red Sox sent Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia in exchange for Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, and Guillermo Mota. Yes, that trade.
This is one where both teams should give thanks: Ramirez won the National League Rookie of the Year Award the following season and would attend three straight All-Star Games as a Marlin. Both Lowell and Beckett were integral parts of the Boston's 2007 World Series team.
Of course, Ramirez is, almost exactly nine years later, back with the Red Sox. This deal took place a few days before Thanksgiving, though, so Sox fans can save that wishbone for something else.
As for this year, well, the D-Backs and Yasmany Tomas may have made their own Thanksgiving memories.