Worst Trades in Yankees History No. 4 –
Adam: Here lies number four on my list of worst trades in Yankees history. The “Crime Dog” is probably top-two on many lists but for me, the circumstances make the loss a little less painful. You see the Yankees had a youngster they loved in Don Mattingly and made a choice. Now back problems derailed “Donny Baseball” but the first few years after the trade sure looked like the Bombers made the right decision with Mattingly winning a Most Valuable Player Award and a string of All-Star appearances. But Fred McGriff was dealt and had a Hall of Fame-caliber career that included 1550 RBI, 493 home runs, and a World Series title with the Braves. A fellow writer and friend of mine coined a phrase based on this deal that I am sure you will read somewhere in this article. It is not so much the deal at the time as it is the effects later that makes it into number four on my list of worst trades in Yankees history.
Rich: The fourth worst trade in Yankees history is when they traded Mike Lowell to the Marlins for basically nothing. At the time the Yankees had Scott Brosius playing third and Mike Lowell was never projected to be a great player, so I can understand the move. However, the players the Yankees got in return (Todd Noel, Mark Johnson, and Ed Yarnall), never did anything and Lowell helped the Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series in 2003 and then helped the Red Sox win their second World Series title in 3 years in 2007 and he won the World Series MVP that season as well.
Worst Trades in Yankees History No. 3 –
Rich: My third worst trade in Yankees history may be considered the worst trade in history simply because of what the person traded away ended up doing. Of course, I am talking about when the Yankees traded Fred McGriff (along with Mike Morgan) to the Blue Jays for Dale Murray and Tom Dodd. Murray played in the majors for 12 years and Dodd never played for the Yankees. McGriff, hit 493 HRs in his career, and in my opinion should be in the Hall of Fame. Other people will rank this trade as the worst in Yankees history because of that fact. However, the reason McGriff was traded is why I drop the trade down to the third worst – the Yankees traded McGriff because they decided that their first baseman of the future was going to be Don Mattingly and not McGriff. Granted, McGriff ended up having a better career than Mattingly, but if Mattingly’s back didn’t end his career, it may have been the correct move so I don’t penalize the Yankees as much as others. Now, whenever the Yankees talk about trading prospects, I always say, “I hope they don’t end up getting McGriffed” (the prospect ends up being a Hall of Famer and the Yankees get nothing in return).
Adam: “Hey, what can I get if I trade away a top prospect with power on the verge of breaking out?” How about Ken “Freakin” Phelps? Great, let’s do it. It had to go like that right? Buhner would play for well over a decade in Seattle, become a fan favorite and cog in their machine. He would even stroke over 300 home runs. Phelps? Well, he would play in a whopping 131 games and smack an astounding 17 home runs in New York. But hey, he did score 43 whole runs. We traded Buhner for a guy who has Pitch Hitter listed as one of his positions in Baseball Reference. This is one of the worst trades in all of baseball and that is how he makes it into number three on my list of worst trades in Yankees history.