Though trades are immediately scrutinized as both fans and analysts scramble to declare a "winner" and a "loser" from the deal, the true beneficiary often isn't revealed until years later -- or, sometimes, even the following decade.
With that in mind, here's a look at some of the biggest trades from the 2000s that ultimately helped shape the past 10 years:
Phillies bring in future Hall of Famer
Dec. 16, 2009: Phillies acquire RHP Roy Halladay and cash from Blue Jays for C Travis d’Arnaud, RHP Kyle Drabek, OF Michael Taylor
Fresh off winning their second consecutive National League pennant -- but coming up short in their bid for a second straight World Series title -- the Phillies went out and acquired Halladay from the Blue Jays. Though the move would not produce another trip to the Fall Classic for the Phillies, it would result in some postseason history, with Halladay tossing a no-hitter against the Reds in his first career playoff start in 2010. That was the icing on a season in which the right-hander won his second career Cy Young Award.
Tigers land Mad Max in three-team blockbuster
Dec. 8, 2009: Tigers acquire RHP Max Scherzer, LHP Daniel Schlereth from D-backs, and OF Austin Jackson, LHP Phil Coke from Yankees; Yankees acquire OF Curtis Granderson from Tigers; D-backs acquire RHP Ian Kennedy from Yankees, and RHP Edwin Jackson from Tigers
In one of the top blockbuster deals in Winter Meetings history, the Tigers acquired Scherzer as part of this massive three-team trade. Scherzer broke out in Detroit and helped guide the club to the 2012 AL pennant -- Austin Jackson was a key piece of that team as well -- before winning the AL Cy Young Award the following year. That performance set up a big payday in Washington, where he spent the back half of this decade dominating the NL.
Granderson, meanwhile, had a pair of 40-homer seasons in the Bronx, including a sensational '11 campaign in which he racked up 41 homers, 119 RBIs and 25 stolen bases en route to finishing third in AL MVP voting. Kennedy had a 21-win season for Arizona in 2011, and while Edwin Jackson's tenure there was short, it did include a no-hitter in 2010.
Blue Jays land a big bat
July 31, 2009: Blue Jays acquire 3B Edwin Encarnación, RHP Josh Roenicke, RHP Zach Stewart from Reds for 3B Scott Rolen
The Blue Jays acquired Encarnación from the Reds at the 2009 Trade Deadline, but the slugger's time in Toronto nearly came to an end before he ever established himself as one of the game's premier power hitters. Encarnación was claimed off waivers by the Athletics in November 2010, but he was released in early December and re-signed with Toronto two weeks later.
After another mediocre season in 2011, Encarnación finally arrived in '12 to the tune of a 42-homer, 110-RBI campaign. That kicked off a five-year stretch in which he averaged 39 homers and 110 RBIs from 2012-16, a run that ended with back-to-back postseason appearances for Toronto. Encarnación provided one last memory for Blue Jays fans when he clubbed a walk-off homer in the '16 AL Wild Card Game.
A Holliday in St. Louis
July 24, 2009: Cardinals acquire OF Matt Holliday from A's for RHP Clayton Mortensen, OF Shane Peterson, 3B Brett Wallace
The A's acquired Holliday from the Rockies in a blockbuster deal in November 2008 (see below), but they promptly flipped him to the Cardinals before the '09 Trade Deadline. The deal worked wonders for the Cardinals, as Holliday remained in St. Louis through the '16 season. He was a four-time All-Star during his eight seasons with the Cards, helping the club win the '11 World Series in the first of its five consecutive postseason appearances.
CarGo goes to Colorado
Nov. 10, 2008: Rockies acquire OF Carlos González, RHP Huston Street, LHP Greg Smith from A's for OF Matt Holliday
González had a modest rookie season with the A's as a 22-year-old in 2008 (four homers in 85 games) before being sent to the Rockies, alongside solid closer Street, in exchange for Holliday. The rest was history for González, who burst onto the scene with an incredible '10 campaign in which he won the NL batting title and finished third in MVP voting. He went on to hit 227 homers while helping the Rockies make a trio of postseason appearances during his 10-season tenure with the club.
Joey Bats is born
Aug. 21, 2008: Blue Jays acquire 3B/OF José Bautista from Pirates for a player to be named later (C Robinzon Díaz)
Bautista had flashed some power, but he had yet to display much consistency when the Pirates traded him to Toronto late in the 2008 season. Bautista broke out in a major way in '10, crushing an MLB-leading 54 homers while earning his first All-Star selection and finishing fourth in AL MVP Award voting. He led the Majors in homers once again the following year, then later guided the Blue Jays back to the postseason in '15, when he delivered his iconic bat flip in the ALDS against the Rangers.
O's acquire future face of the franchise
Feb. 8, 2008: Orioles acquire OF Adam Jones, RHP Chris Tillman, LHP George Sherrill, RHP Kam Mickolio, LHP Tony Butler from Mariners for LHP Erik Bedard
Jones had made a minimal impact while appearing in 73 games over two seasons for the Mariners before Seattle sent him to Baltimore -- along with four other players -- in exchange for Bedard. Jones went on to make five All-Star appearances with the O's, including four straight from 2012-15. He also took home four Gold Glove Awards and guided the Orioles to a trio of postseason appearances while becoming a fan favorite during his 11 years in Baltimore. Tillman also was an important part of the rotations of those three playoff teams, and he started more than 200 games in an O's uniform.
Freese returns home
Dec. 14, 2007: Cardinals acquire 3B David Freese from Padres for OF Jim Edmonds
A four-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, Edmonds helped the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series, but he spent just one more season in St. Louis before being traded to the Padres following the '07 season. The return for the 37-year-old outfielder? A 24-year-old third baseman and St. Louis-area native by the name of David Freese, who had yet to play above Class A after being selected in the ninth round of the '06 MLB Draft.
Freese wouldn't make his big league debut until 2009, and he didn't become an everyday player for the Cardinals until '11. He cemented his place in Cardinals history that year by notching MVP honors in both the NLCS and the World Series, where his heroics helped St. Louis rally past the Rangers.
Miggy heads to Detroit
Dec. 4, 2007: Tigers acquire 3B Miguel Cabrera, LHP Dontrelle Willis from Marlins for OF Cameron Maybin, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Dallas Trahern, RHP Frankie De La Cruz, C Mike Rabelo
Cabrera emerged with the Marlins in 2003, helping guide the club to a World Series title at just 20 years old. He went on to earn All-Star selections in each of the next four years, while averaging 32 homers and 115 RBIs, before being traded alongside Willis following the '07 season.
Cabrera didn't slow down one bit in Detroit, helping the Tigers reach the postseason each year from 2011-14, including a World Series appearance in '12. That AL pennant capped a season in which Cabrera notched the AL Triple Crown and won the first of back-to-back MVP Awards.
Texas deals Tex, lays foundation for future
July 31, 2007: Rangers acquire SS Elvis Andrus, RHP Neftalí Feliz, LHP Matt Harrison, LHP Beau Jones, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia from Braves for 1B Mark Teixeira, LHP Ron Mahay
Teixeira had already established himself as one of the top players in the Majors by the time the Rangers traded him to Atlanta at the 2007 Trade Deadline. While Teixeira would spend only a year in Atlanta before being moved again at the following Deadline, Texas' return for the slugger proved pivotal in the club's rebuild. Andrus, Feliz and Harrison all played key roles in the Rangers' runs to the '10 and '11 World Series, though Texas came up empty both years. Andrus remains the shortstop in Texas, and he sits second in franchise history in games played.
Another crucial figure on those clubs, 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton, was subsequently acquired from Cincinnati in December '07, in exchange for right-hander Edinson Vólquez.
Rangers get a baby Boomstick
July 28, 2006: Rangers acquire OF Nelson Cruz, OF Carlos Lee from Brewers for RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Kevin Mench, OF Laynce Nix, LHP Julian Cordero
Cruz had played only eight games at the big league level when he was traded along with Lee -- an established Major League slugger in the midst of his first All-Star campaign -- from the Brewers to the Rangers before the 2006 Trade Deadline. While Lee departed after the season to sign with the Astros, Cruz remained in Texas through the '13 season.
Though he had a breakout season in 2009, Cruz also played a key role in helping Texas start the decade with back-to-back AL pennants. He put together a historic effort en route to being named the 2011 ALCS MVP, becoming the first player in Major League history to hit six homers in a single postseason series.
Tampa Bay turns a corner
July 12, 2006: Rays acquire INF/OF Ben Zobrist, RHP Mitch Talbot from Astros for 3B/OF Aubrey Huff
A sixth-round pick by the Astros in the 2004 MLB Draft, Zobrist was traded to the Rays prior to the 2006 Trade Deadline. Though Zobrist made his big league debut three weeks later, he didn't fully break out until the '09 season, when he hit .297 with a .405 on-base percentage to go along with 27 homers, 91 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. It was good enough to earn Zobrist his first career All-Star selection and a share of votes for the AL MVP Award. The versatile utility player went on to carve out a key role for a trio of Tampa Bay postseason appearances in '10, '11 and '13 before being traded to the A's in 2015.
Paul Casella is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.