Hug it out: In-game trades a part of the game
Flores situation brings back memories of dugout goodbyes
With all the chatter about transactions before Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, it's easy to forget there is a human element to all of this. Come late July every year, players get uprooted, leaving behind their teammates and cities to join a new ballclub at a moment's notice.
That has led to some strange scenes over the years, perhaps none stranger than what we saw on Wednesday night involving Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores. When word of an impending trade reached him, cameras caught Flores tearing up on the field -- only for the trade to fall through, leaving Flores with the Mets after all.
Still, we've witnessed our fair share of in-game deals that have actually gone through in the past few years. These trades often prompt players to be removed mid-game -- and an ensuing slew of hugs and handshakes from teammates.
Twitter has even coined the hashtag #HugWatch for when a player is rumored to be part of a deal. The thinking is simple: Keep an eye on that player in the dugout, and when the hugs begin, the trade is official.
Here is a look at some of the more notable #HugWatches from the past few years.
Austin Jackson from Tigers to Mariners, July 31, 2014
When Detroit landed David Price from Tampa Bay last season, it sent Jackson to Seattle in the three-team trade. The problem was, Jackson was playing center field when the deal went down. With a 2-2 count on the White Sox's Gordon Beckham and the bases loaded in the seventh, Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus called time and sent Rajai Davis out to take Jackson's spot. Jackson, who had spent parts of five seasons with Detroit, received a standing ovation as he left the field.
Huston Street from Padres to Angels, July 18, 2014
Street wasn't in the game at the time of his trade, but he was still part of one of the more eventful in-game deals of the past few seasons. After it became apparent that Street was heading to the Angels, then-Padres manager Bud Black phoned the bullpen to let Street know he had been dealt. San Diego's telecast picked up on this as it was happening, and Street spent the remainder of the game in the 'pen but unavailable to play, before the deal became official afterward.
Travis Snider from Blue Jays to Pirates, July 30, 2012
It wasn't quite mid-at-bat like the Jackson trade, but Snider headed to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Mariners, only to be told to turn around by manager John Farrell. Snider had been dealt to the Pirates for right-hander Brad Lincoln, and Snider spent the next two seasons in Pittsburgh.
Reed Johnson from Cubs to Braves; Geovany Soto from Cubs to Rangers, July 30, 2012
In what had to be one of the strangest nights ever to be in the Cubs' dugout, three players were dealt during the game in two trades. First, outfielder Reed Johnson -- along with starter Paul Maholm, who wasn't playing -- went to Atlanta in a deal that came down in the fourth inning. Cameras caught Johnson exiting to the customary teammate hugs, one of which came from Soto. One inning later, it was Soto on the receiving end of those hugs, when he was dealt to Texas. The Cubs, who finished the game down three players, ended up winning anyway, beating the Pirates, 14-4.
Hunter Pence from Astros to Phillies, July 29, 2011
A clean-shaven Pence trotted out to center field for the fifth inning of Houston's game against Milwaukee, only to be told he had been dealt when Jason Michaels jogged to center to give Pence a departing handshake. Pence had been on the block all week, so the trade was expected, but you could see the confusion written all over Pence's face as he headed to the Astros' dugout.
Xavier Nady from Pirates to Yankees, July 25, 2008
The Pirates' telecast knew something was up when Nady exited the game after just one inning and was nowhere to be found in the dugout. But nothing was confirmed until later in the game, when the Nady and reliever Damaso Marte emerged to say their goodbyes. Strangely enough, Nady was also replaced by Michaels.
Joel Youngblood, from Mets to Expos, Aug. 4, 1982
Before the hashtag, there was Joel Youngblood. He became the only player to record a hit for two teams on the same day. Youngblood, who was traded after clearing waivers, recorded a two-run single against Ferguson Jenkins for the Mets in an afternoon game at Wrigley Field. After being told he had been traded, Youngblood headed to Philadelphia, where he hit safely against another Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton. Two hits off two Hall of Famers in two time zones? Not a bad day.