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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Kyle Hendricks. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Hendricks. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

6. The Cubs get a sleeper

Losers in both the 2010 and 2011 World Series, the Rangers approached the 2012 trade deadline in a mood to fortify themselves for the coming postseason. They led the Angels by three games and went shopping for one more veteran arm to join a rotation that already featured Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and Matt Harrison.

Their target: Cubs starter Ryan Dempster.

The Cubs, in a rebuilding mode, were more than willing to trade Dempster in return for one or two prospects who might help their farm system and — outside chance — some day project as major league contributors. The two players they ended up with were infielder Christian Villanueva and a lightly regarded minor league pitcher named Kyle Hendricks.

It took two years but Hendricks eventually developed into the prize of the deal. Emerging in 2014, the right-hander with a fastball that never topped 90 mph. Nevertheless, he went 7-2 as a rookie, and, in 2016, was 16-8 with a league-leading 2.13 ERA as the Cubs won the World Series.

He had a 1.00 ERA in his two World Series starts, one of them Game 7, and a 1.48 ERA for the entire postseason.

Dempster? He was 7-3 in a dozen starts for the Rangers, who lost that postseason’s Wild Card game to Baltimore. Released at season’s end, Dempster finished his career in 2013, winning a World Series ring with Boston.

The math: Dempster, +0.2 WAR for Texas; Hendricks, +23.1 WAR for Chicago Cubs. Net impact: +23.3 WAR.