The 10 biggest MLB trades of the 2010s

December 20th, 2019

There's often nothing more exciting than a trade. Sure, a huge free-agent signing is fun, but that's really only news for one team and one player. A trade is something totally different. It's multiple teams, multiple players, for potentially many different reasons. Trades can shape future champions or completely change a team's trajectory. They can seem huge at the time and end up not mattering at all.

With the decade coming to an end, it's a good time to look back at the biggest, most important deals of the decade since Jan. 1, 2010. We're not talking about trades that seemed important and then fizzled, or under-the-radar ones that blew up. We're talking about game-changers, the ones that were huge news at the time and remain relevant today.

There's more than 10, obviously. Think about all the trades we wanted to touch on but couldn't, including yet not limited to:

• The Adrián González/Anthony Rizzo trade (2010)
• The Dan Haren/Patrick Corbin/Tyler Skaggs trade (2010)
• The Noah Syndergaard/R.A. Dickey/Travis d'Arnaud trade (2012)
• The Trevor Bauer/Didi Gregorius/Shin-Soo Choo trade (2012)
• The Trea Turner/Wil Myers/Steven Souza Jr. trade (2014)
• Either of the David Price trades (2014, '15)
• The Adam Eaton/Lucas Giolito trade (2016)
• The Sean Doolittle/Blake Treinen/Jesus Luzardo/etc. trade (2017)
• The José Quintana/Eloy Jiménez/Dylan Cease trade (2017)
• The Gerrit Cole heist (2018)
• The Robinson Canó/Edwin Díaz stunner (2018)

Those alone could comprise a pretty interesting list, but they couldn't squeeze onto our top 10. And we're also not including the crazy three-way trade that landed Max Scherzer in Detroit, as that happened in December 2009, a few weeks before the decade began.

The list below is somewhat subjective, obviously; your mileage may vary. Here's our top trades of the last decade.

1) The Royals build a title staff

Dec. 9, 2012: Rays trade P James Shields, P Wade Davis and IF Elliot Johnson to Royals for OF Wil Myers, P Jake Odorizzi, P Mike Montgomery and IF Patrick Leonard

What even? The Royals were coming off nine straight losing seasons, so they dipped into a stacked farm system -- their 2011 prospect list, which included Myers, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy, Montgomery and others, was considered one of the best ever -- to make a win-now move for a team that didn't appear to be ready to win, surrendering a consensus top prospect in Myers, the defending Minor League Player of the Year, plus a pair of well-regarded pitchers in Odorizzi and Montgomery.

That prospect pipeline had already supplied the Royals' lineup with Hosmer, Moustakas, Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon, and the Zack Greinke trade had imported Lorenzo Cain, Odorizzi and Alcides Escobar. All that was missing was a right-field replacement for Jeff Francoeur, who'd hit only .235/.287/.378 in 2012. Myers was to be that replacement. As Grantland wrote at the time:

Instead of replacing Francoeur with Myers in 2013, a switch that would be worth around four wins, they’re stuck with the game’s worst right fielder for another season. The downgrade from Myers to Francoeur is almost enough to cancel out the benefit from acquiring Shields.

The Rays, meanwhile, weren't rebuilding. They were good, having won 90-plus games in 2010, '11 and '12. (They'd do so again in 2013.) With a talented young rotation anchored by David Price, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson, with Chris Archer on the way, they felt they had the depth to lose Shields, who had two years remaining on his contract, in order to import Myers and friends.

Were the takes good or bad? No one liked this for the Royals. Actually, everyone hated this trade at the time, feeling Kansas City had been too aggressive to push a roster that wasn't good enough. "Royals Mortgage Future To Be Mediocre In 2013," blared the FanGraphs headline. "A Royal Blunder," blared that Grantland piece, one that was authored by an admitted Royals fan. ESPN's headline was "Myers acquisition a coup for Rays," and it went on and on like that.

And then what happened? It didn't work out for Kansas City, at first. While the 2013 Royals finally posted a winning record for the first time in a decade, they actually made this deal look somewhat worse by taking Davis, who'd looked like a relief ace in the making for the Rays in 2012 (2.43 ERA, 30.6% strikeout rate) and putting him back in the rotation, where he struggled to a 5.32 mark in '13. Shields had another good year, but Myers, at 22, posted a 131 OPS+ and won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

Even two years later, in 2014, it still looked bad. As this particular author wrote in July of that year, noting how well Odorizzi was pitching, "It’s easy to look at the return for Tampa Bay and think that this is now an even better deal than it looked like back in 2012."

Except ...

Davis moved back to the bullpen in 2014, spending the next three years as a truly elite reliever (1.18 ERA in 185 games) and recording the final out of the '15 World Series. (He'd later bring back Jorge Soler via trade, and Soler hit a team-record 48 homers in 2019.) Shields did what he was acquired to do -- give the Royals 455 2/3 high-quality innings (3.18 ERA) over his two years in Kansas City. The Royals made it to the World Series in 2014 and won it all in '15, which is all that matters in the end.

Meanwhile, Myers disappointed in 2014 (77 OPS+), thanks in part to a broken wrist, and was traded to the Padres after the season for an unimpressive return. He's been more good than great (108 OPS+) in San Diego. Montgomery never pitched for the Rays, though he's carved out a career with the Cubs and is now back with the Royals. Leonard never reached the Majors. Odorizzi was solid with the Rays (3.82 ERA in 698 innings), but he didn't really break out until he got to Minnesota in 2019.

The Royals got back-to-back AL pennants, a World Series ring and now Soler. The Rays got some moments from Myers and Odorizzi, but not much else. Sometimes, you really can't predict baseball.

Would each team do it again? Kansas City doesn't win the World Series without this trade, so absolutely. The Rays probably wish they had eventually received more, but this made all the sense in the world at the time.

2) The Red Sox pay a high price for an elite ace

Dec. 6, 2016: White Sox trade P Chris Sale to Red Sox for P Michael Kopech, IF Yoán Moncada, OF Luis Alexander Basabe and P Victor Diaz

What even? After a few years of proving that a "stars-and-scrubs" strategy wasn't going to work, the White Sox tore it all down. The next day, they'd trade Adam Eaton to Washington for Lucas Giolito and others. The next summer, José Quintana, Todd Frazier and David Robertson were on the move as well. Only now are they really attempting to return to contention. In Boston, the 2016 Red Sox won the AL East behind David Price and AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, but they'd reached the end of the line with Clay Buchholz and figured it was time to build a super rotation.

Were the takes good or bad? The Red Sox "paid an elite price to get an elite player," wrote FanGraphs, which is fair. The White Sox "[struck] prospect gold," said the headline of Keith Law's ESPN piece.

And then what happened? Sale lived up to expectations, throwing 372 1/3 innings of 2.56 ERA ball over the next two seasons, and he recorded the final out in the 2018 World Series. Like much of the rest of Chicago's rebuild, this got off to a rough start, as Moncada struck out 217 times in 2018, while Kopech injured his elbow after only 14 1/3 innings that year. Basabe has struggled to stay healthy, and Diaz simply hasn't been healthy enough to pitch since 2017. But Moncada broke out in a big way this past year, hitting 25 homers with a 141 OPS+ and strong third-base defense. Kopech has reportedly been back up to 100 mph in his rehab, and he should pitch in the Majors in 2020.

Would each team do it again? Yes. Sale helped Boston win a ring, which was the entire point. The White Sox finally look like they're ready to contend again, and Moncada is a big part of that, with a healthy Kopech still possessing front-of-the-rotation talent.

3) The Royals make the right trade for their ace

Dec. 19, 2010: Royals trade P Zack Greinke and IF Yuniesky Betancourt to Brewers for OF Lorenzo Cain, P Jake Odorizzi, P Jeremy Jeffress and SS Alcides Escobar

What even? The Brewers, coming off a 77-85 season and knowing that Prince Fielder was headed into his final season before free agency, decided that 2011 was a go-for-it year, having earlier traded Brett Lawrie for starter Shaun Marcum to join incumbent starters Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf. Adding Greinke gave them what was considered a strong top four.

Greinke had debuted with the Royals at age 20 in 2004, and after a few false starts, had blossomed into an ace, winning the 2009 AL Cy Young Award by posting a 2.16 ERA in 229 1/3 innings. But the Royals had been a losing team every year he was there, and he had reportedly asked the team for a trade to a contender. He'd earlier refused to waive his no-trade clause to allow a move to the Nationals before relenting for Milwaukee.

Were the takes good or bad? No one liked this for the Royals. Sensing a theme? The return for Kansas City was "OK, not great," wrote this particular author. "If that was the best they could do, should have waited." One prominent Royals blog flatly stated, "I don't like the trade." At FanGraphs, it was: "My first reaction to the package coming to Kansas City was: Really, that’s it?" It was more favorable for Milwaukee; ESPN's Keith Law wrote that if you make a trade like this, "you do it for an impact player who dramatically increases your chances to reach or advance in the postseason in the upcoming season."

And then what happened? The Brewers went for it, and they got it. Milwaukee improved by 19 games to 96-66 to win the National League Central. The Crew reached the NL Championship Series before falling in six games to the Cardinals. Greinke infamously broke a rib playing basketball just before Spring Training and didn't debut until May, but he threw 171 2/3 innings of 3.83 ERA ball with underlying peripherals that suggested he'd actually been more effective. He was pitching well the next season headed into free agency, when he was traded to the Angels in July, returning Jean Segura, who was a 2013 All-Star and was eventually dealt for Chase Anderson, Aaron Hill and Isan Díaz, who was part of the Christian Yelich deal.

The Royals lost 95 games in 2010, and then lost 91 games in '11 and 90 more in '12. But Cain blossomed into a star, pairing a solid bat with good speed and excellent defense. He posted 25.1 Wins Above Replacement over parts of seven years in Kansas City. Escobar never really did hit, but "Esky Magic" was certainly a thing during their 2015 run. Jeffress didn't do anything for Kansas City, later blossoming back with Milwaukee.

Would each team do it again? Yes. The Brewers wanted to win, and they did, with Greinke's help and the trade tree this spawned benefits them to this day. The Royals got a huge part of their 2014-15 AL pennant-winning core.

4) Justin Verlander's incredible second act

Aug. 31, 2017: Tigers trade P Justin Verlander and OF Juan Ramirez to Astros for OF Daz Cameron, P Franklin Perez and C Jake Rogers

What even? The Tigers hadn't traded Verlander at the July 31 Trade Deadline, and it sure seemed like they hadn't at the Aug. 31 deadline either, until news broke that he'd waived his no-trade clause to agree to a deal with just seconds to spare before midnight ET. On their way to a 98-loss season, and with longtime team owner Mike Ilitch having died earlier in the year, the Tigers began a full-fledged rebuild that they're still deep in the weeds of. In the span of six weeks, they dealt J.D. Martinez, Alex Avila, Justin Wilson, Justin Upton and Verlander. To date, they have received zero regular Major Leaguers in return, though this trio was well-regarded at the time, and others like Isaac Paredes are nearing.

The pre-Gerrit Cole Astros, meanwhile, who had gone 11-17 in August, needed a rotation boost to help a group that was led by Charlie Morton, Brad Peacock and a just OK Dallas Keuchel. It's safe to say Verlander filled that need.

Were the takes good or bad? Fair, mostly. "The Astros paid a hefty price to upgrade right now because they were concerned about what they could throw in the postseason," wrote Dave Cameron. ESPN's Keith Law noted that "the Tigers land[ed] a couple of real prospects." The Tigers reportedly paid about $16 million of the $56 million that Verlander was still owed.

Here's a bad take:

And then what happened? Verlander, the 34-year-old pitcher, increased his value.

The Astros, as you may have heard, are really good at making pitchers better, although it's somewhat overstated here. After an injury-plagued 2014-15 that looked like it might have been the beginning of the end for the longtime ace, Verlander finished second in the AL Cy Young voting in 2016 and allowed only 19 earned runs in his final 11 Detroit starts. He was already pitching well, but he took it to another level in Houston, taking advantage of the Astros' next-level technology. And he's finished second and first, respectively, in the last two AL Cy Young races, as well as posting a 2.21 ERA in 36 2/3 innings in the 2017 postseason.

It hasn't worked out so well for Detroit. Cameron has stalled out at Triple-A, hitting only .214/.321/.370 there over the last two years. Perez has struggled to stay healthy and threw only 7 2/3 Minor League innings in 2019. Rogers made it to the bigs in '19, but he hit a mere .125/.222/.259 in 128 plate appearances and may profile as a defense-first backup.

Would each team do it again? Of course the Astros would. If the Tigers had known none of the prospects would look good in two years, they certainly wouldn't have, though it's worth wondering if the issue was in the players they acquired or the ability of their farm system to help them improve.

5) The Cubs solidify their curse-breaking team

July 25, 2016: Yankees trade P Aroldis Chapman to Cubs for IF Gleyber Torres, P Adam Warren, OF Billy McKinney and OF Rashad Crawford

What even? It's not terribly often that the Yankees find themselves being on the "selling" side of these things, yet that's what was happening in the summer of 2016. Five days later, they'd send Andrew Miller to Cleveland, shaping a 2016 World Series that they wouldn't actually participate in. The Cubs were 20 games over .500 at this point and were well on their way to the postseason, but they didn't want to rely on Héctor Rondón and Pedro Strop in October.

Baseball factors aside, this one had the additional angle of Chapman having been suspended for the first 30 games of the season for being the first player to violate baseball's new domestic violence policy, making his acquisition considerably and understandably unpopular with a broad swath of Cubs fans.

Were the takes good or bad? Complicated. The prospect cost was high for a rental reliever, but it was impossible to talk about this one without discussing the off-the-field implications. "Cubs pay a heavy price for Aroldis Chapman, on and off the field," wrote ESPN, accurately summing up the conversation.

And then what happened? Chapman was fantastic down the stretch for the Cubs, not that it really mattered that much for a team that won the NL Central by 17 1/2 games. He threw 15 2/3 postseason innings, contributing 2 2/3 vital scoreless innings to save World Series Game 5, but he also allowed runs in both Gamed 6 and 7, including Rajai Davis' game-tying homer in the eighth inning of the final game. It's impossible to know if they'd have won or not without him, but the flag flies over Wrigley Field forever. After the season, he'd return to the Yankees, where he's whiffed 247 in 158 2/3 innings since. Warren kicked in 117 2/3 solid innings through 2018. McKinney helped return J.A. Happ from Toronto.

Torres, meanwhile, has immediately become the star he was projected to be. He's made the AL All-Star team twice in two seasons, smashing 62 homers with a 125 OPS+, and he'll only be 23 next year.

Would each team do it again? Yes. The Cubs would have done just about anything to break the curse. The Yankees got back a star in Torres, plus Warren and McKinney (via trade) were nice pickups, too.

6) The Pirates get bold

July 31, 2018: Rays trade P Chris Archer to Pirates for P Tyler Glasnow, OF Austin Meadows and P Shane Baz

What even? Barely six months after trading Gerrit Cole to the Astros, where he'd famously bloom into one of baseball's best pitchers, the Pirates, then 3 1/2 games out of an NL Wild Card spot, finally got the Rays to ship out their longtime ace. The 2018 Pirates were sitting eight games below .500 as late as July 7, but a 15-of-18 winning run convinced them that pushing in was the right idea, not only for that year, but for the three additional years Archer was under contract for.

This one was always difficult to evaluate at the time, because it was never just about "Archer for prospects." It was about "a worse pitcher than Cole for a higher price than they'd received from Houston," making it a net downgrade, and it was also about not having made such a move two or three years earlier when the World Series was in sight.

For five years, between 2013-17, Archer had been one of baseball's better starters, giving Tampa Bay 937 2/3 innings of 3.60 ERA ball. The 2018 Rays were out of the race, but they'd notably gone out and traded for Tommy Pham on the same day, perhaps tipping their hand that they'd seen something about Archer's pitches they didn't like.

Were the takes good or bad? "It might not work out as well as they want, but you have to admire [the Pirates'] courage," wrote Jeff Sullivan. "Archer is a quality arm, but this is quite a return for the #Rays," tweeted MLB Network host Robert Flores. The Ringer probably summed it up best with the headline of "By Trading for Chris Archer, the Pirates Have Made the Gerrit Cole Deal Look Even Worse."

And then what happened? The Pirates went 26-27 over the final two months, quickly fading out of the postseason race. Archer's 4.31 ERA in 10 starts was about the same as the 4.30 mark he'd posted in 17 starts for the Rays -- fine, but nothing terribly special. His 2019 was considerably worse, as he posted a 5.19 ERA in 119 2/3 innings around shoulder and thumb issues.

For the Rays, Meadows, who had won NL Rookie of the Month in May for Pittsburgh, has done nothing but hit, making the AL All-Star team and posting a 141 OPS+ with 34 homers in parts of two seasons. Glasnow missed much of 2019 due to injury, but when he was available, he was unbelievable, posting a 1.78 ERA in 60 2/3 innings, striking out 76. Baz is still only in Class A and is Tampa Bay's No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Would each team do it again? The Rays sold at the right time for the right return and may have built the nucleus of their next great team with this one. Fifteen months after this deal, Pittsburgh, fresh off a 93-loss season, dismissed general manager Neal Huntington as part of a total house-cleaning. So no, probably not.

7) Milwaukee adds a Most Valuable Player

Jan. 25, 2018: Marlins trade OF Christian Yelich to Brewers for OF Lewis Brinson, OF Monte Harrison, IF Isan Díaz and P Jordan Yamamoto

What even? The Marlins were in complete let's-blow-it-all-up mode, having already traded Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna during the winter of 2017-18, and trading Yelich was the obvious end point of the plan. (Especially because he and his agent had made their displeasure at the situation clear.) At the time, he was regarded as a solid player (121 OPS+ in parts of five seasons) who hadn't tapped into the power potential (59 homers at that time) his underlying skills suggested. He was also on a massively team-friendly contract, one that owed him only $44.5 million over the next four seasons, plus a 2022 team option for $15 million.

The Brewers were coming off an 85-77 second-place season, and when they added Yelich, it was one of the biggest days in team history, seeing as how they also signed Lorenzo Cain to a five-year free-agent contract the same day.

Were the takes good or bad? Milwaukee adding two huge outfield stars on the same day pretty clearly garnered positive reviews, but there was a lot to like about this for Miami, too. Rotoworld's Christopher Crawford, speaking to CBS, said, "It's really a win-win deal," noting that the Marlins "did well here" in the prospect return. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis was even more effusive:

And then what happened? Yelich bashed 36 homers in 2018, winning the NL MVP Award. He hit 44 more in '19, and he might have won another MVP if he hadn't been injured in September. Over the last two years, he's been the most valuable player in the National League, and he's pretty clearly a top-five superstar in baseball. Though he swears he wasn't worried about his launch angle, it's hard to not notice that after years of hearing about how he hit too many hard ground balls, his grounder rate dropped from around 60% with Miami to 52% in 2018 and 44% in '19. He only just turned 28 earlier this month, and he's tied to Milwaukee for three more seasons.

The jury is still out for Miami, though it's not looking great. Brinson has hit .189/.238/.294 in two seasons with Miami, striking out 30% of the time. Harrison struck out 215 times in Double-A in 2018, and he was a league-average bat at Triple-A in '19. Díaz mashed in Triple-A (.305/.395/.578 in 2019) and is in line for serious Miami time in 2020, though he hit only .173/.259/.307 in 201 plate appearances in the bigs. Yamamoto struck out 82 in 78 2/3 innings in his rookie year.

Would each team do it again? The Brewers couldn't say "yes" to this quickly enough. The Marlins would certainly either keep Yelich or find a better return.

8) Toronto adds its missing piece

Nov. 28, 2014: A's trade 3B Josh Donaldson to Blue Jays for 2B/3B Brett Lawrie, SS Franklin Barreto, P Sean Nolin and P Kendall Graveman

What even? The 2014 A's traded for Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, but they fell apart down the stretch, and had they not blown a 7-3 seventh-inning AL Wild Card Game lead vs. the Royals, recent baseball history would have looked very different. In response, they ... traded one of baseball's best players over the previous two years. The A's reportedly didn't really want to move him, but they relented only when Toronto agreed to give up all four players Oakland insisted upon. Two weeks later, the A's flipped Samardzija to the White Sox in a deal that paid off enormously, returning Marcus Semien, Chris Bassitt and Josh Phegley.

The Blue Jays hadn't seen October since winning the 1993 World Series, and they were desperate to get back. They kicked off the winter by trading for Marco Estrada, and 10 days earlier, they signed catcher Russell Martin to a five-year deal. Though Lawrie was a popular Canadian player, he'd also been just a league-average player. When you can get a Donaldson, you get him.

Were the takes good or bad? Ben Lindbergh's Grantland article was titled "Why Oakland’s Seemingly Insane Josh Donaldson Trade Is Defensible at Worst and Sell-High Smart at Best," so there's that. "Deals like this are how teams climb from the 80-85 win treadmill to the 90-win tier of World Series favorites," wrote FanGraphs about the Blue Jays. It's "a shocker that effectively signals a rebuild on the part of the A’s," said Sports Illustrated, and Oakland did indeed finish in last place in the AL West each of the next three seasons.

And then what happened? If Donaldson had been good for the A's, he broke out for the Blue Jays, hitting 41 homers with a 151 OPS+ and beating out Mike Trout for the 2015 AL MVP Award. Paired with Bautista and Edwin Encarnación, Donaldson and the Blue Jays made it to the ALCS in each of his first two seasons with Toronto, though they couldn't progress further; Donaldson put up three star-level seasons, smashing 111 homers with a 151 OPS+. He was traded to Cleveland in the midst of an injury-plagued 2018. Even with a relatively limited Toronto tenure, he's one of the 10 most valuable position players in franchise history.

Oakland's return hasn't provided the same benefits. Lawrie lasted a single disappointing year in Oakland before being traded, and Nolin's six games for the 2015 A's are, to date, his last Major League appearances. Graveman started on Opening Day in 2017 and '18, but he topped out at "average" and hasn't pitched since early 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. The only remaining player, Barreto, is still only 23, but a .189/.220/.378 slash line in 209 plate appearances over parts of three seasons isn't giving much hope he'll be more than a backup.

Would each team do it again? Donaldson was an enormous part of the most memorable Blue Jays teams in decades, so of course they would. This is one the A's would absolutely love to have back.

9) The Dodgers roar back to life

Aug. 25, 2012: Red Sox trade 1B Adrián González, P Josh Beckett, OF Carl Crawford, IF Nick Punto and $11 million to Dodgers for 1B James Loney, 1B/OF Jerry Sands, IF Iván De Jesús Jr., P Rubby De La Rosa and P Allen Webster

What even? After a few years lost wandering in an ownership situation/bankruptcy-fueled wilderness, new Dodgers ownership took official control of the club in May 2012. After making some quick upgrades to Dodger Stadium, signing Yasiel Puig ($42 million out of Cuba) and Andre Ethier (a five-year, $85 million extension) and trading for Hanley Ramirez, they made just about the biggest splash you could possibly think of, taking on more than a quarter-billion dollars worth of salaries in an aggressive bid to improve immediately while they rebuilt the organization into the successful version we know today.

González was the centerpiece, as he wasn't even through the first year of the seven-year, $154 million contract he'd signed in April, but a fourth-place Boston club viewed losing him as worth it in order to rid itself of the more than $130 million still due to Crawford and Beckett, who were variously injured/unproductive/unhappy in Boston (Crawford) or injured/unproductive/connected to the ridiculous-in-retrospect "fried chicken and beer" incident that marked the collapse of the 2011 season (Beckett).

Were the takes good or bad? ESPN's Keith Law stated that "this deal could end up looking good for both sides, better for the Dodgers in the very short term but much better for the Red Sox in the long term," while the New York Times had an article titled "Red Sox Trade Removes a Little of the Stench," which tells you a little about how bad things had gotten in Boston. "For the Red Sox, this was a no-brainer of a deal," wrote now-Padres analyst Dave Cameron at FanGraphs, who also added that "there’s no getting around the fact that the Dodgers likely just paid $20 for a gallon of milk."

Still, this one was less about "analysis" and more about "shock," from media to fans to players themselves:

And then what happened? None of the players Boston got back made any impact whatsoever, which was somewhat surprising, though also not really the point. With a newly freed payroll, the Red Sox that winter brought in Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Koji Uehara, David Ross, Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes and others, turning a 93-loss 2012 team into the 2013 World Series champs.

The Dodgers, three games out in the NL West at the time, got good performance from González (116 OPS+) and Beckett (2.93 ERA in seven starts) down the stretch but missed the postseason. (It remains the last time the Dodgers failed to win the division.) Beckett threw only 159 more innings -- and a no-hitter -- for Los Angeles over the next two injury-plagued seasons before retiring. Crawford, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery in 2012, had his moments in 2013-14 but barely played in 2015-16 before the Dodgers cut him loose, having given them 1,119 plate appearances of league-average production. While González never reached the peaks he had with San Diego or Boston, he was a reliable performer for the next four years (124 OPS+ from 2013-16), collecting NL MVP Award votes in three seasons, before injuries in 2017 saw him lose his spot to Cody Bellinger.

Would each team do it again? Probably. Certainly, the Red Sox would in a heartbeat, even with zero production from anyone they acquired. The Dodgers didn't exactly spend efficiently, and they might have preferred to get star-level González, but he was generally good and they didn't miss the players they shipped out. If the entire point was about announcing to their fans and the world that they were back in the game, it worked. They've won seven straight division titles.

10) The Braves and the heist everyone knew was a heist

Dec. 9, 2015: Braves trade P Shelby Miller and P Gabe Speier to D-backs for SS Dansby Swanson, OF Ender Inciarte and P Aaron Blair

What even? Former Arizona GM Dave Stewart deserves some amount of credit for looking past Miller's 6-17 record in 2015 to focus on the 3.02 ERA the 24-year-old posted in 205 1/3 innings, but he paid an absolutely enormous price to get him. Arizona surrendered No. 1 overall Draft pick Swanson only six months after he'd signed, along with 2013 first-rounder Blair, and it failed to properly value Inciarte, who had just posted absolutely elite defensive numbers (+29 Defensive Runs Saved) in 2015 to go with a league-average bat -- a star-level combo.

Officially announced only days after the D-backs shockingly signed Zack Greinke away from the Dodgers for $206.5 million, it was a very clear "win-now" move. There's nothing wrong with that, but the price was so stunningly high -- you could argue, as we did at the time, that five years of Inciarte alone could be more valuable than three of Miller -- that it shook the baseball world. Atlanta had earlier traded Jason Heyward's final year before free agency to St. Louis for Miller, and it turned that one year into a very good year from Miller and all of this. It was quite the shell game.

Were the takes good or bad? My friends, they were spicy. Now-Rays analyst Jeff Sullivan, then at FanGraphs, said it was "a clear, obvious mistake," MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal quoted an executive who said it was "the worst trade I've ever seen," and ESPN's Keith Law wrote that the cost was "comically high," and, well, you get the idea. Baseball Twitter has rarely been so aligned on anything, or so correct.

And then what happened? However poorly you think this might have gone for Arizona, it ended up being worse. If Miller had pitched well and if it had made the postseason, you might not mind what you'd given up. That didn't happen, obviously. Miller's first year in the desert was dreadful (6.15 ERA in 101 innings), and the D-backs lost 93 games. The next year, he required Tommy John surgery before the end of April. Miller's total Arizona career: 139 innings, 6.35 ERA. After posting an 8.59 ERA for Texas in 2019, he's currently unsigned. He's still only 29 years old.

Blair never panned out, but Swanson has become the starting shortstop on a playoff Atlanta team, though he's yet to have the true breakout we've been expecting. Inciarte won NL Gold Glove Awards in each of his first three seasons in Atlanta, compiling 10 WAR.

Would each team do it again? You don't even need to ask that question about the Braves. Stewart lost his job as Arizona's GM less than a year later, so probably not. (In 2017, he said that while he thought Miller would do better in Arizona, he did regret trading Swanson.)

Bonus: 6 Huge Trades You Didn't Even Notice

You probably ignored these trades at the time because they were so minor. Years later, they've turned out to have enormous impacts on baseball, just not for the reasons anyone would have expected at the time.

1. July 31, 2010: P Corey Kluber traded by Padres to Indians as part of a three-team trade that sent P Jake Westbrook and P Nick Greenwood to Cardinals and OF Ryan Ludwick to Padres.

The 2010 Cardinals, atop the NL Central at the time, were looking for a veteran starter with Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse out with injuries. The 2010 Padres, atop the NL West at the time, wanted another veteran bat a day after acquiring Miguel Tejada. And the 2010 Indians? Well, they were in last place, on their way to losing 93 games. Neither the Cardinals nor the Padres held onto their leads, although Westbrook was a big part of the 2011 St. Louis team that won the World Series. Kluber, meanwhile, became a two-time AL Cy Young Award winner with a 3.16 career ERA.

2. July 31, 2012: P Kyle Hendricks and IF Christian Villanueva traded by Rangers to Cubs for P Ryan Dempster.

The headliner of this deal was Villanueva, but he never really panned out. Instead, Hendricks, at the time a soft-tossing 22-year-old in Class A, has become one of baseball's most reliable starters, compiling a 3.14 ERA in 966 innings for Chicago. Dempster wasn't effective for Texas (5.09 ERA in 12 starts) and departed after the season.

3. June 4, 2016: SS Fernando Tatís Jr. and P Erik Johnson traded by White Sox to Padres for P James Shields.

Tatís hadn't yet suited up for the White Sox professionally, but he burst into unexpected superstardom as he progressed through the system for his new team. Even that aside, this deal was questionable at the time, because Chicago had lost 17 of its last 23 on its way to a fourth-place finish, and Shields hadn't been pitching well. He'd post a 5.31 ERA over parts of three seasons with the White Sox.

4. Aug. 1, 2016: OF/DH Yordan Alvarez traded by Dodgers to Astros for P Josh Fields.

Alvarez had signed with the Dodgers six weeks earlier and hadn't yet even played a game for them when he was dealt for Fields, as the Dodgers were looking for late-season relief help. It's worth noting that Fields was good for the Dodgers, posting a 2.61 ERA in 124 games over three seasons, though he'll always be remembered for his Game 2 meltdown in the 2017 World Series. Alvarez came up this past June and smashed 27 homers on his way to a unanimous AL Rookie of the Year Award.

5. Aug. 7, 2014: P Mike Clevinger traded by Angels to Indians for P Vinnie Pestano.

Clevinger was a gangly Class A pitcher for the Angels when they gave him up for the final 21 1/3 innings of Pestano's career. After joining Cleveland, he gained velocity and has a 2.96 ERA in 447 2/3 starts over the last three years. In 2019, he allowed three or fewer runs 17 times in 21 starts.

6. Dec. 20, 2014: P Luis Castillo and P Kendry Flores traded by Giants to Marlins for IF Casey McGehee.

The funny thing is that this is merely one of four Castillo trades, technically. He was then traded to the Padres in 2016's Andrew Cashner/Josh Naylor/Colin Rea deal, but then was returned just days later after Rea injured himself in his Miami debut. A few months later, he was dealt to the Reds for Dan Straily. Over the last three years, Castillo has been one of the 30 or so best starters in baseball.