Sunday, July 28, 2013
Best deadline deal ever: Padres
By David Schoenfield
Throughout July, we're presenting 30 deals in 30 days: the best trade-deadline deal ever made by each team. We wrap up with the NL West.
THE TEAM: San Diego Padres
THE YEAR: 1993
THE SITUATION: The Padres were in the middle of a fire sale thanks to majority owner Tom Werner's slash-and-burn policy after the Padres had posted winning seasons in 1991 and 1992 (finishing in third place both years) but apparently not returning enough of profit to please the 14 co-owners. Craig Lefferts was traded near the end of the 1992 season, Tony Fernandez was traded in the offseason, Benito Santiago and Randy Myers departed as free agents and in June of 1993, rising star Gary Sheffield was traded to the Marlins, a deal that at least produced long-time closer Trevor Hoffman. On July 18, the Padres traded Fred McGriff to the Braves for three prospects who didn't pan out.
The Padres still had veteran pitchers Bruce Hurst (who had made just two starts but had won 14 games in 1992) and Greg Harris (10-9, 3.67 ERA) available and the expansion Colorado Rockies were looking for some pitching help for the future (they were 30 games out at the time of the trade).
THE TRADE: The Padres traded Hurst and Harris for pitchers Andy Ashby and Doug Bochtler and catcher Brad Ausmus.
THE AFTERMATH: Ashby, who the Rockies had acquired from the Phillies in the expansion draft, would win 70 games for San Diego, helping the Padres to division titles in 1996 (9-5, 3.23 ERA) and 1998 (17-9, 3.34 ERA) and a World Series trip in '98. The ripple effect of Ashby has continued to help the Padres to this day, however. In 2000, Ashby was traded to the Phillies in a deal that brought Adam Eaton. Eaton was later dealt to the Rangers in a deal that brought over Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young. Ashby, Bochtler, Ausmus, Eaton, Gonzalez and Young would combine to earn 59.6 WAR for the Padres -- a figure that will continue to grow if the players acquired for Gonzalez ever do anything.
Not bad considering Hurst would win just two more games in his career (for the Rangers, not the Rockies) and Harris just four (he would go 4-20 with a 6.60 ERA in his Rockies career).
As for Werner, the Padres ownership group he headed sold an 80 percent stake in the club to John Moores in December of 1994. Werner retained a 10 percent stake in the team until 2007 -- even though by then he had become part-owner of the Red Sox.