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White Sox all-time Top 5 in-season trades

Garcia, Contreras and Cruz helped spark playoff runs on South Side

Will the White Sox swing a deal before the July 31 Trade Deadline? Sometimes it takes years to determine how well a team did in a trade. With the benefit of hindsight, the following are the five most notable trades in franchise history that were conducted during the regular season, according to reporter Scott Merkin. Agree? Disagree? Comment below:

1. June 27, 2004: White Sox receive right-handed pitcher Freddy Garcia and catcher Ben Davis from the Mariners for infielder Mike Morse, catcher Miguel Olivo and outfielder Jeremy Reed.

Former general manager Ken Williams' trade magic might have never been more evident than prying away the most coveted pitching target one month before the Trade Deadline and then inking him to three-year extension in July. Garcia finished with nine wins and a 4.46 ERA in 16 starts for the White Sox during the '04 season. But the White Sox wouldn't have won their first World Series in 88 years in 2005 without the help of Garcia's 14 wins over 33 starts.

It was Garcia who pitched seven shutout innings in the deciding Game 4 of the World Series sweep against Houston. It also was Garcia who told his teammates and coaches before the game that he was going to finish off the championship. The man simply knew how to win big games.

2. June 15, 1983: White Sox receive second baseman Julio Cruz from the Mariners in exchange for second baseman Tony Bernazard.

At the time Cruz was picked up, the White Sox sat in fifth place in the American League West and 5 1/2 games out of first place. Cruz was just the spark the team needed.

Cruz hit .251 with 24 stolen bases during his 1983 time with the White Sox, who put together a 59-26 record after the All-Star break and cruised to the division title. Of course, it didn't hurt having starting pitchers such as LaMarr Hoyt, Richard Dotson and Floyd Bannister anchoring the rotation.

3. July 31, 2004: White Sox acquire right-handed pitcher Jose Contreras in exchange for right-handed pitcher Esteban Loaiza.

Loaiza had a near Cy Young effort in 2003 for the White Sox. He even started the All-Star Game at home for the AL. But the White Sox got rid of him at the right time, as he struggled through an uneven first half.

In the process, the White Sox picked up the anchor of their rotation for the 2005 championship run. Contreras won Game 1 of the AL Division Series, the clinching Game 5 in the AL Championship Series and Game 1 of the World Series sweep of Houston.

4. June 24, 2012: White Sox receive third baseman Kevin Youkilis from the Red Sox in return for right-handed pitcher Zach Stewart and outfielder Brent Lillibridge.

The White Sox were in desperate need of a third baseman, because of Brent Morel's back issues and Orlando Hudson's ineffectiveness at a position he had never played before at the Major League level. So Williams acquired Youkilis, who had been replaced at third base by Will Middlebrooks in Boston.

Youkilis provided a major spark for the White Sox upon his arrival, driving in at least one run in eight straight games to begin July. His final season numbers weren't overwhelming, but Youkilis played a role in the White Sox sitting atop the AL Central for 117 days. In getting Youkilis, the White Sox also gave up two players who did not figure prominently in their three-year plan.

5. Aug. 25, 1959: White Sox receive first baseman Ted Kluszewski from the Pirates for Minor League infielder Bob Sagers and right fielder/first baseman Harry Simpson.

Geoff Blum (acquired from San Diego on July 31, 2005), Carl Everett (acquired from Montreal on July 18, 2004) and Minnie Minoso (acquired from the Indians on April 30, 1951) all contributed immediately after their arrivals, and Blum chipped in one of the most famous homers in White Sox history to win Game 3 of the World Series. But it's hard to argue with Kluszewski's production after he was obtained.

Kluszewski hit .297 with two homers and 10 RBIs in the regular season with the White Sox. But in the 1959 World Series against the Dodgers, Kluszewski hit .391 with three homers and 10 RBIs, not to mention two walks and no strikeouts, over 25 plate appearances. The White Sox still lost in six, but Kluszewski gave them a fighting chance.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin.
Read More: Chicago White Sox, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras, Michael Morse, Esteban Loaiza, Ted Kluszewski