Angels' all-time Top 5 in-season trades
Acquisition of Figgins tops the list; 2010's Haren deal rounds out top moves
Will the Angels swing a deal before the July 31 Trade Deadline? Sometimes it takes years to determine how well a team did in a trade. With the benefit of hindsight, the following are the five most notable trades in franchise history that were conducted during the regular season, according to Alden Gonzalez. Agree? Disagree? Comment below:
Angels history isn't necessarily littered with shrewd in-season trades, but there have been a few gems along the way. Below are the five most beneficial for the organization, in anticipation of the non-waiver Trade Deadline that's now only a couple weeks away. Offseason moves don't count (which is why Rod Carew and Nolan Ryan aren't mentioned) and neither do waiver pickups (sorry, David Eckstein).
Here they are, in descending order:
No. 1: July 13, 2001: Angels receive infielder/outfielder Chone Figgins from Rockies for outfielder Kimera Bartee.
By his third year with the Halos, Figgins had established himself as a catalyst atop the Angels' lineup and a major reason why they eventually made the playoffs in five of his last six years in Anaheim. From 2004-09, Figgins batted .291 with a .363 on-base percentage, accumulating 265 stolen bases -- fourth most in the Majors in that span -- while making an All-Star team and finishing 10th in American League Most Valuable Player Award voting in his final season. Bartee played 12 games with the Rockies in '01 and never made it back to the big leagues, ending a 243-game career.
No. 2: July 29, 2008: Angels receive first baseman Mark Teixeira from Braves for right-hander Steve Marek and first baseman Casey Kotchman.
This one left a bitter taste because Teixeira promptly left the Halos as a free agent, instead signing an eight-year, $180 million contract with the free-spending Yankees. His time in Anaheim was short, but sweet. Teixeira came over just before the non-waiver Trade Deadline and batted .358 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs during a 54-game stretch that culminated in another AL West title. Kotchman struggled offensively for the next 2 1/2 years before a (surprisingly) productive season with the Rays in 2011. Marek, a 40th-round Draft pick, never made it to the big leagues.
No. 3: Sept. 10, 1985: Angels receive right-hander Don Sutton from Athletics for right-hander Robert Sharpnack and outfielder Jerome Nelson.
Sutton was 40 years old when he came to Anaheim, the best years of his eventual Hall of Fame career clearly behind him. But the Angels still got plenty of value, particularly in his first full season. In 1986, Sutton formed a threatening rotation trio with Mike Witt and Kirk McCaskill, going 15-11 with a 3.74 ERA to help pitch the Halos to their first division title in four years. He then gave up two runs in 9 2/3 innings of an AL Championship Series the Angels lost to the Red Sox in seven games. Sharpnack and Nelson never reached the Majors.
No. 4: May 11, 1990: Angels receive outfielder Dave Winfield from Yankees for right-hander Mike Witt.
Witt established himself as one of the best starting pitchers in Angels history during his first 10 years in the big leagues, but this one-for-one deal was pretty well timed for the organization. Winfield, an eventual Hall of Famer, returned from a back injury to win the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1990 and went on to post a .268/.335/.469 slash line with 47 home runs in 262 games with the Halos. Witt made only 27 starts in 3 1/2 years with the Yanks, then retired in 1993.
No. 5: July 25, 2010: Angels receive right-hander Dan Haren from D-backs for left-hander Patrick Corbin, right-handers Rafael Rodriguez, left-hander Joe Saunders and left-hander Tyler Skaggs.
This may not look like a very good trade in a few years, but let's not be so quick to dismiss what the Angels got out of Haren in the first year and a half of this deal -- a deal general manager Jerry Dipoto made while serving as interim GM in Arizona. Haren posted a 2.87 ERA in 14 starts down the stretch in 2010, then went 16-10 with a 3.17 ERA in 2011, combining with Jered Weaver to form one of the best rotation duos in the game. But Haren struggled in 2012, Corbin (10-1, 2.40 ERA) is making an early case for the National League Cy Young Award and Skaggs has a world of talent. Check back in, say, three years.
Honorable mentions: Angels receive infielder Sandy Alomar and right-hander Bob Priddy from White Sox for second baseman Bobby Knoop (May 14, 1969); receive left-hander Jim Brewer from Dodgers for right-hander Dave Sells (July 15, 1975); receive outfielder Alex Ochoa and catcher Sal Fasano from Brewers for infielder Johnny Raburn and right-hander Pedro Liriano (July 31, 2002); receive right-hander Ernesto Frieri from Padres for right-hander Donn Roach and infielder/outfielder Alexi Amarista (May 3, 2012).
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.