Major League Baseball Better Trades – 2006
A flurry of last-minute better trades made the deadline one of the busiest in recent memory. A lot of great names and top-line players were moved to different homes, as clubs looked for to reset their forces prior to the late-summer playoff push.
One of the biggest names moved in a better trade was future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who was dealt by the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maddux was dealt in exchange for slick-fielding shortstop Cesar Izturis. Maddux was in the final year of his contract and was acquired in hopes of helping the Dodgers get back into the playoffs. Maddux had 327 career wins at the time of the trade and was going to join a good rotation that included Derek Lowe and Brad Penney. Maddux no longer had the stuff that enabled him to win four Cy Young Awards, but he has always been able to throw strikes and rarely missed a start because of injury.
The Dodgers also added infielder Julio Lugo from Tampa Bay in exchange for prospects Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza. Lugo is a good offensive player, although not close to as strong defensively as Izturis. Lugo was batting .308 with homers and 18 stolen bases when acquired.
Cincinnati made some better trades in attempt to boost its pitching staff. The Reds, like the Rangers, have never had much luck developing their own pitchers. They obtained Kyle Lohse from Minnesota for minor league pitcher Zach Ward and acquired veteran relief pitcher Rheal Cormier from Philadelphia in exchange for Justin Germano. Cincinnati was within three games of the division-leading Cardinals when the trade was made and felt it had to make a move to add pitching depth in order to stay in the race. Lohse was 2-5 with a 7.07 ERA with Minnesota and was 51-57 in his career. A low point for Lohse was when he injured a finger while smashing the door of manager Ron Gardenhire's office with a bat.
The biggest deadline surprise was the decision by Washington to hold onto outfielder Rafael Soriano, the slugging outfielder whose contract was scheduled to end after the season. The Nationals did deal for outfielder Austin Kearns and shortstop Felipe Lopez from Cincinnati and traded veteran reliever Mike Stanton to San Francisco for prospect Shairon Martis. Washington general manager Jim Bowden felt the Nats had a chance to hang onto Soriano, who was batting .286 with 32 homers and 26 stolen bases at the time of the trade deadline.