Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

A look at top franchise players who were dealt

McCutchen, Longoria join list that includes Stanton, Griffey, among others @AndrewSimonMLB

For the second time in the span of a month, the Giants have acquired a franchise player.

First came a Dec. 20 trade with Tampa Bay for third baseman Evan Longoria. Then, on Monday, San Francisco reached an agreement to land outfielder Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh. Both players come to the team having made an enormous impact with their original organizations.

For the second time in the span of a month, the Giants have acquired a franchise player.

First came a Dec. 20 trade with Tampa Bay for third baseman Evan Longoria. Then, on Monday, San Francisco reached an agreement to land outfielder Andrew McCutchen from Pittsburgh. Both players come to the team having made an enormous impact with their original organizations.

McCutchen, a first-round pick by the Pirates in 2005, came up to the Majors in '09 and became the driving force behind a baseball renaissance in the Steel City. In '13, Cutch took National League MVP honors, as the Bucs won 94 games and made the postseason for the first time since Barry Bonds left following the 1992 season.

Hot Stove Tracker

In McCutchen's nine seasons in Pittsburgh, he was selected to five All-Star teams and finished in the top five in MVP voting four times, while winning four Silver Slugger Awards and one Gold Glove Award. His 203 home runs are the most by a Bucs player over the past 40 years.

Tweet from @TheCUTCH22: Pittsburgh.My Home.My Fans.My City. The placed that raised me and helped mold me into the man I am today. You will 4ever be in my heart.A tip of the cap to all who have been on this journey with me. With Love and respect,Cutch

Longoria made his presence felt in a similar way after the first-rounder debuted early in 2008 with the Rays, who had never previously won more than 70 games in a season. That year, however, they won 97 and went to the World Series, with Longoria capturing the American League Rookie of the Year Award. Over Longoria's 10 seasons with Tampa Bay, the franchise reached 90 victories five times and made four postseason appearances.

Longoria headed to San Francisco with a Rays-record 50 Wins Above Replacement and as the all-time Tampa Bay leader in most major offensive categories.

Video: Longoria thanks Tampa Bay community following trade

While it's jarring to see players with the stature of Longoria and McCutchen dealt away, such a move is not unprecedented. Here are 10 other examples from throughout baseball history -- beginning with the most recent -- in which a franchise traded one of its greatest players. For the purposes of this exercise, we are focusing on players who broke into the Majors with a club and were still in or near their prime when traded.

December 2017: Marlins trade OF Giancarlo Stanton to Yankees
San Francisco isn't the only team to acquire a franchise player this offseason. New York did so as well, having landed the reigning NL MVP -- and most of his hefty contract -- from Miami for Starlin Castro and two prospects. Stanton departed South Florida as the Marlins record-holder in career WAR (35.1), home runs (267), RBIs (672), slugging percentage (.554) and many other categories.

Video: Mattingly on losing Stanton's presence in lineup

December 2009: Blue Jays trade SP Roy Halladay to Phillies
The late Halladay had produced 48.5 WAR for Toronto since his 1998 debut -- second in franchise history to Dave Stieb -- over a 12-year tenure that included six All-Star selections and an AL Cy Young Award, but no postseason appearances. After posting a 75-87 record in '09, the Blue Jays embarked upon a rebuilding project that included parting with Halladay for a package of prospects. The right-hander, who had one year left on his contract at the time, won the NL Cy Young Award in '10 with the Phillies.

February 2000: Mariners trade OF Ken Griffey Jr. to Reds
Griffey now wears a Seattle cap on his Hall of Fame plaque, but after the 1999 season, he requested a trade, following an 11-year run that included 398 home runs, an AL MVP Award, 10 Gold Glove Awards and a franchise-record 70.6 WAR. With one year left on his contact, Griffey was sent to Cincinnati. But a bad situation worked out for the Mariners, who got a solid young center fielder in the trade (Mike Cameron) and made the postseason the next two seasons, winning 116 games in '01. After an injury-plagued tenure with the Reds, Griffey returned to finish his career in Seattle from 2009-10.

Video: CIN@STL: Griffey hits his 500th career home run

In 2012, the Mariners traded away Ichiro Suzuki, another franchise icon who had spent his career with the club. But he was 38 years old at the time and no longer performing near a superstar level, so his trade to the Yankees (for pitchers Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell) did not have quite the same impact as the Griffey blockbuster.

December 1984: Expos trade C Gary Carter to Mets
Carter debuted with Montreal as a 20-year-old in 1974 -- the team's sixth season -- and by the end of '84, he had made seven NL All-Star teams and produced a franchise-record 55.5 WAR. But the '84 Expos finished in fifth place and subsequently swapped their elite backstop for four players, including shortstop Hubie Brooks. While the Expos never returned to the postseason before leaving Montreal after the 2004 season, Carter helped the Mets win the '86 World Series. He closed out his career back in Montreal in '92 and entered the Hall of Fame wearing an Expos cap in 2003.

This was not the first time another franchise's icon -- and future Hall of Famer -- had been traded to the Mets. On May 11, 1972, the Mets acquired a 41-year-old Willie Mays from the Giants for right-hander Charlie Williams. Mays was well past his prime by then, but he did help New York win the '73 NL pennant.

February 1979: Twins trade 1B Rod Carew to Angels
Carew made the AL All-Star team in each of his 12 seasons in Minnesota and won the 1967 AL Rookie of the Year Award, the '77 AL MVP Award and seven batting titles. But by '79, the Twins had finished third or lower in the AL West for eight straight seasons, and Carew was one year away from free agency. The Angels acquired the sweet-swinging lefty for a four-player package, and Carew finished his career in Anaheim, eclipsing 3,000 hits in 1985. The Hall of Famer's 63.7 WAR with the Twins still has him just ahead of Harmon Killebrew for first in franchise history.

Video: MIN@LAA: Carew collects his 3,000th career hit

June 1977: Mets trade SP Tom Seaver to Reds
Just before the Trade Deadline -- then scheduled for June 15 -- the last-place Mets shipped off their ace and future Hall of Famer in a highly controversial deal for a quartet of young players. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner took his talents to the defending World Series-champion Big Red Machine and remained in Cincinnati until a one-year return to Queens in '84. More than 30 years after he last pitched, Seaver's 76.1 WAR with the Mets is still nearly double the total of any other pitcher in franchise history.

December 1973: Astros trade OF Jimmy Wynn to Dodgers
Wynn's debut in 1963 came one year after the franchise's inaugural season. Playing in a tough era for hitters and mostly in the cavernous Astrodome, "The Toy Cannon" had seven 20-homer seasons, six 5-WAR seasons and a 131 OPS+ in 11 years with the club. But after he slumped in '73, Houston swapped Wynn for another accomplished veteran, left-handed pitcher Claude Osteen. Though since passed by such luminaries as Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, Wynn's 41.4 WAR made him easily the most productive player of the Astros' first dozen seasons.

December 1971: Angels trade SS Jim Fregosi to Mets
It wasn't until Mike Trout that an Angels position player generated more WAR for the club than Fregosi's 45.9. Selected from the Red Sox in the 1960 Expansion Draft, Fregosi was still a teenager when he made his debut late in the '61 season, the Halos' first. He became a six-time All-Star, but he began to decline in '71, and the Angels made the fortuitous decision to ship Fregosi to the Mets for four players. One of them was a young Nolan Ryan, who immediately developed into an All-Star in Anaheim. Fregosi hung on as a player until '78, when he took over as the Angels' manager and led the franchise to its first postseason appearance in '79.

December 1965: Reds trade OF Frank Robinson to Orioles
Robinson spent his first 10 seasons in Cincinnati, winning an NL Rookie of the Year Award and an NL MVP Award, smashing 324 home runs and racking up 63.8 WAR -- easily a Reds record at the time. Evidently believing Robinson's best days were behind him, the Reds sent the slugger to Baltimore for three players, including two-time All-Star pitcher Milt Pappas. The Orioles got the better end of the deal, as Robinson added an AL MVP trophy to his collection in '66 and Baltimore went to the World Series four times in his six seasons, winning twice. Robinson now wears an Orioles cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

Video: DET@BAL: Frank Robinson hits 500th home run

December 1926: Cardinals trade 2B Rogers Hornsby to Giants
In 13 seasons with St. Louis, Hornsby batted .359 with more than 2,100 hits, and he recorded the final out of Game 7 of the 1926 World Series by tagging out Babe Ruth on an ill-advised steal attempt. But Hornsby's contract talks with the Cardinals fell through, and the club dealt him to New York for pitcher Jimmy Ring and another star second baseman, Frankie Frisch. A future Hall of Famer, Frisch was an MVP winner in '31 and helped the Cardinals win two more World Series championships. Hornsby briefly returned to the Cardinals for part of the '33 season, and only Stan Musial has since exceeded his 91.4 WAR for the franchise.

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.