While some might assume the Hot Stove cools off over the holidays, there have been several notable trades and free-agent signings from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day over the years. This offseason hasn't really hit its stride just yet, but who knows, perhaps that will happen during the holiday
While some might assume the Hot Stove cools off over the holidays, there have been several notable trades and free-agent signings from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day over the years. This offseason hasn't really hit its stride just yet, but who knows, perhaps that will happen during the holiday week.
Here's a look at some of biggest moves that have happened in that timeframe, which involved All-Stars, former Most Valuable Players and Cy Young Award winners, as well as future Hall of Famers.
Reggie Jackson to A's: Dec. 24, 1986
In the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, Jackson signed with Oakland for his second stint with the club. At age 40, he was entering his 21st and final Major League season, having racked up 14 All-Star selections, the 1973 American League MVP Award, two World Series MVP awards and 548 home runs.
"I don't need any Christmas gifts," Jackson told reporters after signing on Christmas Eve. "This is enough for me."
In 1987, Jackson hit .220/.297/.402 with 15 homers in 374 plate appearances, primarily as a designated hitter. In the final at-bat of his career, he singled to center off the White Sox's Bobby Thigpen in the eighth inning of Oakland's 5-2 loss on October 4.
Padres send Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley to Astros as part of 12-player trade; Derek Bell goes to San Diego: Dec. 28, 1994
In the largest trade between two teams since 1957, the Astros and Padres made a swap involving 12 players. The package Houston sent to San Diego included Caminiti and Finley, two players who would help the Padres reach the postseason in 1996 (lost in the National League Division Series) and '98 (lost in the World Series). In return, the Astros got a package including Bell, who would become one of Houston's best run-producers over the next three seasons.
Caminiti spent four seasons with the Padres during the best stretch of his career. He was the 1996 NL MVP, slashing .326/.408/.621 with 40 homers. Overall, he posted a 147 OPS+ for San Diego from 1995-98, and won three consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1995-97.
Finley would also be with San Diego from 1995-98, setting a career-high with 30 home runs and a 136 OPS+ in 1996. He was an All-Star in 1997, posting a .261/.313/.475 line with 28 homers.
Bell was with the Astros from 1995-99, with his best year coming in 1998, when he slashed .314/.364/.490 with 22 homers.
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Rickey Henderson to Padres: Dec. 29, 1995
The all-time stolen base king and future Hall of Famer was still productive when San Diego signed him to a two-year, $4 million deal. In 1995 with the A's, Henderson slashed .300/.407/.447 with 32 stolen bases. Though the 37-year-old hit only .241 in his first season with the Padres, he walked 125 times in 148 games and swiped 37 bases. Before being traded to the Angels in 1997, he slashed .274/.422/.375 with 29 steals in 88 games for San Diego.
Henderson would have one more stint with the Padres before retiring, returning to the club in 2001 and appearing in 123 games.
Kenny Rogers to Yankees: Dec. 30, 1995
When the Yankees signed Rogers to a four-year, $20 million contract just before the calendar flipped to 1996, they were getting a left-hander who had just earned his first All-Star selection, posting a 3.38 ERA in 31 starts for the Rangers in '95. But Rogers struggled with New York, posting a 5.11 ERA and nearly a walk for every strikeout from 1996-97.
The Yankees traded Rogers, along with utility player Mariano Duncan, to the Padres in exchange for Greg Vaughn in July 1997, but Vaughn failed his physical and the trade was nullified. Following that season, New York sent Rogers and $5 million to the A's for a player to be named. That player turned out to be Scott Brosius, who would be named MVP of the '98 World Series after hitting .471 with two homers in a sweep of San Diego.
Rogers was an All-Star three more times, from 2004-06 with the Rangers and Tigers.
Tigers trade Luis Gonzalez to D-backs: Dec. 28, 1998
The D-backs acquired Gonzalez, who would become a five-time All-Star with Arizona, in exchange for right fielder Karim Garcia. Garcia played 10 MLB seasons with seven different clubs.
Gonzalez had a solid season in his one year with Detroit, slashing .267/.340/.475 with 23 homers in 1998. But he took it to another level with the D-backs, increasing his home run total to 26 in 1999, 31 in 2000, and 57 in '01. In Game 7 of the '01 World Series, he hit a broken-bat single to shallow center field off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera to lift Arizona to its first World Series title in franchise history.
Gonzalez played for the D-backs through the 2006 season, and retired in '08 at the age of 41.
Jeff Suppan to Brewers: Dec. 24, 2006
Suppan was coming off a strong second half in 2006, during which he posted a 2.39 ERA in 15 starts for the Cardinals. In the NLCS that October, he gave up just one run in 15 innings (0.60 ERA) over two starts, and he was named the NLCS MVP before St. Louis won the World Series over the Tigers. The Brewers inked the 31-year-old right-hander to a four-year, $42 million deal on Christmas Eve.
Though he posted a 109 ERA+ in his three prior seasons, Suppan struggled with Milwaukee. From 2007-08, he pitched 384 1/3 innings with a 4.78 ERA, but in '09, his ERA continued to increase while his innings total fell. In '10, he posted a 7.84 ERA before being released in June, eventually re-signing with the Cardinals and finishing out the '10 season for St. Louis. He did not pitch in the Majors again until '12, when he made six starts for the Padres before retiring.
Barry Zito to Giants: Dec. 28, 2006
The Giants signed Zito to what was then the largest pitcher contract ever, at $126 million over seven years. San Francisco was bringing the left-hander across the bay from Oakland, where he was a three-time All-Star and the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner. With the A's, Zito had a 124 ERA+ over eight seasons. But he would struggle for much of his tenure as a Giant.
Zito posted a 4.62 ERA over seven seasons with San Francisco, but he came up big in the 2012 postseason. With the Giants facing a 3-1 NLCS deficit against the Cardinals, Zito tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings in San Francisco's Game 5 victory. The Giants would come back to win that series, and in Game 1 of the World Series against the Tigers, Zito gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings. San Francisco went on to sweep Detroit for its second World Series title in three years.
A's trade Andrew Bailey to Red Sox; Josh Reddick goes to Oakland: Dec. 28, 2011
With the departure of longtime closer Jonathan Papelbon in free agency, the Red Sox needed a replacement, and Bailey was a two-time All-Star and the 2009 AL Rookie of the Year for the A's. Boston acquired Bailey, along with Ryan Sweeney, in exchange for Josh Reddick, Miles Head and Raul Alcantara.
Bailey saved 75 games over his first three seasons, but injuries have plagued much of his career since. While he entered the 2012 season as the Red Sox's presumptive closer, a Spring Training thumb injury caused him to miss most of the regular season. Shoulder problems in '13 limited his time on the mound again, and when he did pitch, he struggled. Boston non-tendered him after the '13 campaign, and he hasn't been able to get back on track since.
Reddick was a good pickup for Oakland, hitting 32 homers and winning an AL Gold Glove Award in right field in 2012. He had a down year in 2013, but followed that up with consecutive seasons in which he posted a 116 OPS+. He was traded to the Dodgers in '16, and he signed as a free agent with the Astros in '17, helping Houston win its first World Series title.
Daniel Murphy to Nationals: Dec. 24, 2015
Fresh off an incredible postseason performance for the Mets, Murphy agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million deal with the Nationals on Christmas Eve. What the veteran second baseman did in the 2015 postseason, belting seven home runs over the first two rounds and winning the NLCS MVP Award, proved not to be a fluke.
Murphy led the NL with a .595 slugging percentage and .985 OPS in his first season with the Nats, finishing as runner-up to the Cubs' Kristopher Bryant in NL MVP voting. Murphy followed that up by slashing .322/.384/.543 last season, and he was named an All-Star for the third time in his career.
Scott Kazmir to Dodgers: Dec. 30, 2015
A three-time All-Star coming off a strong season split between the A's and Astros, Kazmir signed a three-year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers. The left-hander did not have the same type of success in Los Angeles, with a 4.56 ERA in 2016 before a hip injury caused him to miss the entire 2017 campaign.
The Dodgers traded Kazmir along with Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, Charlie Culberson and cash to the Braves on December 16, in exchange for outfielder Matt Kemp.
Mike Napoli to Rangers: Dec. 29, 2016
Napoli would officially sign with the Rangers for his third stint with Texas on Feb. 16, 2017, but it was in late December that the two sides closed in on a deal.
The 36-year-old slugger had performed well for the Rangers in 2011-12, slashing .275/.379/.552 with 54 homers in 221 games. Napoli helped the club reach the World Series in '11, where he hit .350 with two homers. Texas brought him back for the stretch run in '15, when he slugged .513 with five homers in 35 games.
Napoli posted the lowest OPS of his career last season (.713), but did belt 29 homers in 124 games. He's currently a free agent after the Rangers declined their club option for next season.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.