10 biggest trades in Rangers history

December 1st, 2021
Releasing Matt Harrison opens a spot on the Phillies' 40-man roster. (Getty Images)Tom Pennington/Getty Images

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have had their share of trades that have rocked the baseball world through the years, from Mark Teixeira and Josh Hamilton, to Jose Canseco and Sammy Sosa.
Some had an immediate impact on the franchise, while others dramatically changed the Rangers for years to come. There were a few that didn't work out quite so well.

Here are the 10 biggest in Rangers history that still reverberate in Arlington today.

1. The Teixeira trade
Rangers received from Braves: C , SS , LHP Matt Harrison, RHP and LHP Beau Jones
Rangers gave up: 1B Mark Teixeira and LHP Ron Mahay
Date: July 31, 2007

This trade dramatically changed the Rangers, giving them a badly needed infusion of young talent. Andrus, Feliz and Harrison all became All-Stars and key contributors when the Rangers went to the World Series in 2010 and '11. This trade became the standard for all "selling" teams when it comes to the July 31 Trade Deadline.

2. Hamels for a haul
Rangers received from Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels and LHP Jake Diekman
Rangers gave up: C , OF , RHP Jake Thompson, RHP , RHP and LHP Harrison
Date: July 31, 2015

The Rangers were two games under .500 and seven games out of first place when this trade was made. They made the deal knowing they could have Hamels for as long as three and a half seasons. Hamels came to Texas believing that the Rangers could get back into postseason contention, and they did just that, winning division titles in 2015 and '16. Hamels led the rotation, while Diekman made a significant contribution in the bullpen.

3. Esteban for Young
Rangers received from Blue Jays: RHP Darwin Cubillan and IF Michael Young
Rangers gave up: RHP Esteban Loaiza
Date: July 19, 2000

After two years, manager Johnny Oates was fed up with Esteban Loaiza's act and demanded that he be traded. General manager Doug Melvin fulfilled his manager's wish and sent Loaiza to the Blue Jays for two relatively unknown players. Cubillan caught immediate attention because he was a pitcher. But the Double-A infielder included in the deal ended up being one of the greatest players in Rangers history.

4. Hamilton for Volquez
Rangers received from Reds: OF Josh Hamilton
Rangers gave up: RHP and LHP Danny Herrera
Date: Dec. 21, 2007

After an excellent rookie season for the Reds, Hamilton ended up being a big star in Texas. He was with the Rangers for five seasons in his first time around with the team, but was an All-Star in all five, as well as the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player and the best player on two World Series teams. Volquez, another great young talent, had just one good year with the Reds.

5. Farewell to Juan
Rangers received from Tigers: OF Gabe Kapler, RHP Francisco Cordero, LHP Justin Thompson, C Bill Haselman, IF Frank Catalanotto and LHP Alan Webb
Rangers gave up: OF Juan Gonzalez, RHP Danny Patterson and C Gregg Zaun
Date: Nov. 2, 1999

The Rangers had won three division titles in four years, but Gonzalez had the potential to be a free agent after the 2000 season and had turned down a contract extension. The Rangers were hoping the return package would lead to a quick rebuilding. But Kapler did not become a star as expected and Thompson had shoulder problems that kept him from becoming a front-line starter. Cordero was the best of the bunch, developing into an All-Star closer. Gonzalez returned to the Rangers as a free agent in 2002 but his great years were in the past.

6. A-Rod to New York
Rangers received from Yankees: IF and IF Alfonso Soriano
Rangers gave up: SS Alex Rodriguez
Date: Feb. 16, 2004

Rodriguez signed a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Rangers three years earlier, but was miserable in Texas after three straight last-place finishes. The Rangers almost traded him to the Red Sox for outfielder Manny Ramirez and pitcher , but the Players Association balked at a restructuring of Rodriguez's contract. The deal with the Yankees only came about after third baseman Aaron Boone tore his left knee playing basketball in January and Rodriguez agreed to switch to third base upon joining New York. Soriano had two good years with the Rangers before being traded. The Rangers took Arias instead of Minor League infielder as the player to be named later.

7. Baines for Sosa
Rangers received from White Sox: OF Harold Baines and IF Fred Manrique
Rangers gave up: OF Sammy Sosa, LHP Wilson Alvarez and IF Scott Fletcher
Date: July 29, 1989

The Rangers wanted a veteran hitter for the middle of their young lineup. Sosa was a talented outfielder, but deemed expendable around Juan Gonzalez, Pete Incaviglia and Ruben Sierra. Alvarez was considered the bigger loss. But nobody ever expected Sosa to morph into the record-threatening home run slugger that he eventually became with the Cubs. This trade forever haunted former general manager Tom Grieve.

8. Lee lifts the Rangers
Rangers got from Mariners: LHP Cliff Lee and RHP
Rangers gave up: 1B , RHP , RHP Josh Lueke and IF Matt Lawson
Date: July 9, 2010

Lee was going to be a free agent after the season and he didn't pitch all that well for the Rangers in the regular season. But he won two games in the ALDS against the Rays and one against the Yankees in the ALCS, allowing the Rangers to reach the World Series for the first time in club history. As a side note, the Mariners helped the Rangers even more by taking Beavan instead of left-hander .

9. Here comes Canseco
Rangers received from Athletics: OF Jose Canseco
Rangers gave up: OF Ruben Sierra, RHP Bobby Witt, RHP Jeff Russell
Date: Aug. 31, 1992

This trade caused shock waves throughout baseball. Canseco was a superstar, but the Athletics had grown tired of him and were looking for a quick infusion of postseason talent for a team about to win another division title. Witt, Sierra and Russell were once bright young stars for the Rangers, but their luster had faded. Canseco spent two-plus colorful seasons with the Rangers before being traded to the Red Sox. After he was gone, Sierra, Witt and Russell found their way back to playing for the Rangers at some point during their careers.

10. Burkett boosts Rangers
Rangers received from Marlins: RHP John Burkett
Rangers gave up: RHP Ryan Dempster and RHP Rick Helling
Date: Aug. 8, 1996  
This was the forerunner of future trades for Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. The Rangers acquired Burkett for two future Major League starters, but it was worth it. Burkett reinforced the Rangers' sagging rotation down the stretch and helped them win their first division title in franchise history.