The 21st century’s 10 most impactful MLB trade deadline deals to date

Jul 30, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 30, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Scott Rolen with the Cardinals in 2007. Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © 2007 Howard Smith
Scott Rolen with the Cardinals in 2007. Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports Copyright © 2007 Howard Smith /

2. Scott Rolen again

Scott Rolen is the only player to have been the centerpiece of two of this century’s most impactful deadline trades.

On July 29, 2002, the Phillies — stuck in the NL East cellar and burdened with a disenchanted Rolen looking toward free agency — set out to find a buyer for him. They found one in the St. Louis Cardinals, who led the NL Central.

Down the stretch, Rolen batted .278 with 14 home runs for St. Louis and played a solid third base. The fortified Cardinals breezed to the NL Central title, but were upset by San Francisco in the NLCS.

The Cardinals did make the World Series in 2004, losing to Boston, then in 2006 beat Detroit in the World Series.

Rolen was a vital part of both postseason runs, batting .421 in the 2006 World Series.

To get Rolen, the Cardinals had to send four players to Philadelphia. But only one of them, infielder Placido Polanco, generated significant value for the Phillies.

The math: Rolen, +25.9 WAR for St. Louis; Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith, +10.4 WAR for Philadelphia. Net impact: +36.3 WAR.