Brewers' trade history is marked by blockbusters, busts
KITCHEN SINK TRADE
On Oct. 11, 1971, the Brewers traded Tommy Harper, Pat Skrable, Lew Krausse and Marty Pattin to Boston for Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud, George Scott and Don Pavelitch.
Scott and Lonborg were early stars for the Brewers.
THE WORST TRADES IN BREWERS HISTORY
WINDY CITY WHITEWASH
On Jan. 12, 2000, the Brewers sent Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin to the White Sox for Jaime Navarro and John Snyder.
The results were nothing short of disastrous.
Eldred's season was cut short by injury, but he was 10-2 in 20 starts. Valentin hit 25 homers and had 68 extra-base hits. The Brewers were tired of his act at short (so they signed Jose Hernandez instead!), but Valentin deserved a chance to win an outfield job.
Navarro was released after a hideous start (0-6, 10.53 ERA). Snyder was about as gruesome (3-10, 6.17).
SO LONG, SHEFF
On March 26, 1992, the Brewers shipped disgruntled infielder Gary Sheffield and Geoff Kellogg to San Diego for Ricky Bones, Jose Valentin and Matt Mieske.
Given what Sheffield has done since, many would regard this trade as a bust. But, you have to remember the context. Outside of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, you'd be pressed to find another athlete who loathed Milwaukee as much as Sheffield, who paved his way out of town by ripping owner Bud Selig and -- as he admitted later -- throwing balls into the stands on purpose.
At the time of the trade, Sheffield hadn't done anything in the major leagues. The Brewers did the best they could and the three players the Brewers received were more than adequate. Bones was an all-star and opening day starter. Valentin was a productive player and Mieske mashed lefties when given the chance.
On June 6, 1983, the Brewers traded popular centerfielder Gorman Thomas, along with Ernie Camacho and Jamie Easterly, to Cleveland for Rick Manning and Rick Waits.
Thomas, one of the more beloved players in franchise history, was devastated by the deal and so were many of his fans. He ended up finishing his career with Milwaukee a few years later, but some fans had a hard time getting over this deal.
Manning was a likable guy, but never hit higher than .254 for the Brewers and is probably the only player to be booed by the home crowd after a game-winning hit. That's because his single "ended" Paul Molitor's 39-game hitting streak. Molitor was on deck in extra innings when Manning came through with his ill-timed hit.
On Nov. 17, 1992, the Brewers shipped outfielder Dante Bichette to Colorado for Kevin Reimer.
With the expansion draft approaching, the Brewers worked a deal to send Bichette, along with his defensive issues and $1.5 million contract, to the Rockies for Reimer, whose defense was even more deplorable than the man he was traded for.
Reimer hit .249 with 13 homers and 60 RBI, not exactly great production for a DH. Bichette became a triple-crown threat in hitter-friendly Coors Field and nearly won the National League MVP award after hitting .340 with 40 homers and 128 RBI in 1995. Playing at altitude helped, but Bichette put up productive seasons in Cincinnati and Boston after leaving the Rockies.
On Dec. 6, 1976, the Brewers shipped popular catcher Darrell Porter and pitcher Jim Colborn to Kansas City for Jamie Quirk, Jim Wohlford and a player to be named (Bob McClure).
Although McClure turned into a serviceable pitcher, the Brewers are ripped for trading Porter to this day. What some fans don't know, however, is that the Brewers were aware of Porter's problems with drugs and alcohol. After spending time in rehab in 1980, he went on to play a key role for St. Louis in the '82 World Series, but died of a cocaine overdose in 2002.
On January 14, 2000, the Brewers traded Alex Ochoa to Cincinnati for Mark Sweeney and Gene Altman.
This was Dean Taylor's first trade and he should have asked for a do-over. New manager Davey Lopes had worked with Sweeney in San Diego and valued him as a veteran reserve and positive clubhouse influence. The trouble was that Sweeney had undergone shoulder surgery in the off-season and could barely lift his arm when he arrived in spring training. The Brewers needed bodies at the time and really couldn't afford a pinch-hit specialist.
Ochoa was a five-tool player who never lived up to his advance billing, but may have blossomed with an everyday opportunity in Milwaukee.
Given Sweeney's injury, Taylor should have tried to void the trade. Given that he was new to the job, pride probably prevented him from doing that.
LITTLE FOR LIDLE
On Jan. 17, 1996, the Brewers traded pitching prospect Cory Lidle to the Mets for backup catcher Kelly Stinnett.
Lidle went on to be a decent pitcher in the majors, while Stinnett is part of the army of similar light-hitting backups who have played in Milwaukee. The Brewers lost Stinnett to Arizona in the 1997 expansion draft. Lidle is still pitching.
SHOULDERING A BURDEN
On June 9, 1990, the Brewers sent Glenn Braggs and Billy Bates to Cincinnati for Ron Robinson and Bob Sebra.
The Reds won the World Series, while the Brewers watched Robinson wallow in arm trouble.
MISSING THE MARK
On Sept. 5, 2002, the Brewers shipped infielder Mark Loretta to Houston in exchange for Wayne Franklin and Keith Ginter.
Loretta was expensive and a tad injury prone, but he was also talented and a solid citizen in the clubhouse and community. The Brewers moved him in an attempt to get younger and cheaper, but then had to watch him become an all-star in San Diego a few years later.
Ginter hit a few homers and Franklin gave the Brewers a few nice innings, but neither came close to all-star status.
NOTHING FOR 'NANDO
On December 20, 1999, the Brewers sent second baseman Fernando Vina to St. Louis for Juan Acevedo, Eliezer Alfonzo and Matt Parker.
Vina, whose scrappy play and leadoff skills made him a popular figure in Milwaukee, had some solid seasons for the Cardinals before succumbing to injury.
Acevedo had little impact and the other players didn't make it up the minor-league ladder with Milwaukee.
THE VAUGHN VALLEY
On July 31, 1996, the Brewers shipped impending free agent Greg Vaughn (and Gerald Parent) to San Diego for Bryce Florie, Ron Villone and Marc Newfield.
It was clear that the Brewers weren't going to be able to afford Vaughn, who went on in 1998 to hit 50 homers and help the Padres to the World Series and had some decent seasons for Cincinnati and Tampa Bay thereafter.
Florie and Villone were mediocre relievers, but this deal blew when Newfield did. After a promising second-half in 1996 (7 homers, 15 doubles and 31 RBI in 179 at-bats), Newfield reported to spring training the following year with a bulked-up physique and a slow bat. He was a non-factor the next two seasons and was released in the winter of '98.
On Feb. 24, 2001, the Brewers shipped outfielder Marquis Grissom and pitcher Rudy Lugo to Los Angeles for Devon White. This was about as even a trade as you can imagine. Grissom and White were both getting heat from the home fans and their salaries were a wash at $5 million. The problem with this deal was that White disappeared after the 2001 season, while Grissom continued to be a productive platoon-type player for nearly five years.
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You seriously left out the Cirillo trade as one of the worst in Brewers' history? Milwaukee traded their all-time leader in career batting average for three garbage players, Jimmy Haynes, Henry Blanco, and Jamey Wright. Blanco made Craig Counsell look like a decent hitter! Easily the worst trade in Brewer history.
St. Germain said: You left out trades that almost happened, but never did. Like the one in the winter of 2003 when the Brewers almost traded the entire roster for 2 rosin bags, 3 Mizuno batting gloves, 3 ham sandwiches, and a portobella mushroom. It's too bad this one never went through. We could have used the ham sandwiches.
Thank You said: That was a very interesting history to the Brewers trading past. I'd have to say (although I may be biased due to my age of 27) that the trade with Arizona that brought Overbay and Clark to Milwaukee was one of the best deals. Simply because we are still feeling the positive effects even this past week: Capuano (12k's) and Zach Jackson pitching a great game earlier this week (overbay trade). So that is why I'm so partial to the "Sexy Deal" part 2.
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