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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Aroldis Chapman celebrates the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Aroldis Chapman celebrates the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Honorable mentions

This article focuses on impactful deadline trades based on subsequent WAR for the players involved. But there have been many deadline trades which, while they did not pile up large career WAR numbers, did something even more important: They kick-started successful runs to a World Series championship.

So here’s a nod to deadline deals made by teams that got enough of a short-term bump from them to win it all in the year they made the deal.

July 31, 2004. As part of a four-team  swap, the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs but got back first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins and Orlando Cabrera from Montreal. Cabrera was the big catch in Boston’s World Series run, delivering a +1.8 WAR as Garciaparra’s replacement.

July 17, 2008. The Phillies acquired pitcher Joe Blanton from Oakland for four prospects. None of the prospects ever amounted to anything, but Blanton was 4-0 in 13 starts for the Phillies. He was 2-0 in three postseason starts, winning Game 4 of the World Series.

July 31, 2012. The Giants sent Nate Schierholz and two minor leaguers to Philadelphia and got Hunter Pence in return. Pence would play a key role in both the 2012 and 2014 World Series runs, batting .444 in the 2014 World Series.

July 28, 2015. Needing a veteran lineup presence to beef up their playoff run, the Royals acquired Ben Zobrist from Tampa Bay. The cost was high: pitching prospect Sean Manaea. That was two days after the Royals obtained Johnny Cueto from Cincinnati for three prospects. When Zobrist and Cueto both played prominent roles in Kansas City’s five-game World Series victory over the Mets, that high cost was well worth it.

As noted earlier, the trade with New York that brought closer Aroldis Chapman in exchange for prospect Gleyber Torres had only short-term value. Chapman signed as a free agent with New York at season’s end. But Cubs fans, starved for 108 seasons, would make that kind of short-term deal any day of the week.

July 25, 2018. The Red Sox traded pitching prospect Jalen Beeks to the Rays for Nathan Eovaldi. In the 2018 postseason, Eovaldi would make two starts and four relief appearances, covering 22 innings with a 1.61 ERA.

Next. The winners and losers of the 2022 MLB trade deadline. dark

July 31, 2021. Concluding an active trade season that saw them revamp their outfield, the Atlanta Braves acquired both Jorge Soler from Kansas City and Eddie Rosario from Cleveland. Soler would be named World Series MVP.