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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Cole Hamels with the Texas Rangers. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Cole Hamels with the Texas Rangers. Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

7. Again 2015

The 2015 trade deadline was, with the possible exception of 2022, the century’s most impactful. Three deals that turned out to be major went down, the third one involving the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies.

The Rangers were the hungry party at the 2015 deadline, desperate to improve their position in the tight AL West. They trailed the Astros by seven games and the Angels by five at the end of July, largely due to the absence of an anchor pitcher.

Their target: Cole Hamels, veteran ace of the floundering Philadelphia Phillies.

That July 31, the Rangers obtained Hamels as well as reliever Jake Diekman, although it cost them a full half dozen players, most of them prospects.

Hamels was worth the price. In a dozen starts, he went 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA. He made two postseason starts, getting a no-decision in Game 1 of Texas’ division series with Toronto and losing Game 5, 6-3.

Hamels remained with the Rangers through the 2017 trade deadline, when the Rangers shipped him to the Cubs. He produced 11.1 WAR in those parts-of-three-seasons in Texas.
None of the six players who went to Philadelphia in return proved to be game-changers, but one, starter Jerad Eickhoff, was significant. Eickhoff lasted through 2019, made 76 starts and had a 4.15 ERA, all of that translating to 5.9 WAR for the Phillies.

The Phillies also got catcher Jorge Alfaro, who played parts of three seasons before being traded to Miami. He’s now catching in San Diego.

The math: Hamels and Diekman, +13.5 WAR for Texas; Alfaro, Eickhoff, Matt Harrison, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams and Alec Asher, +6.2 for Philadelphia. Net impact: +19.7.