Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Best deadline deal ever: Giants
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 Francisco Giants
THE YEAR: 2001
THE SITUATION: Barry Bonds was on his way to setting the all-time single-season home run record, but on the morning of July 31, the Giants woke up in third place in the NL West, four games behind the division-leading Dodgers and 2.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. They had allowed 33 more runs than the Dodgers and 57 more than the Diamondbacks and were on the search for some pitching help.
The Pirates were once again non-contenders. Jason Schmidt, who they had acquired from the Braves in 1996 for Denny Neagle, was 6-6 with a 4.61 ERA and owned a career mark of 49-53 and was an impending free agent.
THE TRADE: The Giants acquired Schmidt and outfielder John Vander Wal for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios. Vogelsong had pitched in 13 games in relief for the Giants but had posted a 2.79 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Fresno. Rios was a platoon outfielder hitting .259/.330/.465 with the Giants.
THE AFTERMATH: Schmidt was excellent down the stretch, going 7-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 11 starts. The Giants would win 90 games but fall two games short of the Diamondbacks for the division crown. However, they would re-sign Schmidt that winter in what would be a five-year, $41 million deal. He'd finally max out his potential and become one of the better starters in the majors, going 71-36 with a 3.35 ERA over those five seasons, valued at 21.6 WAR, 12th best among pitchers from 2002 to 2006.
The Giants reached the World Series in 2002 and Schmidt had his best season in 2003, leading the NL in ERA and WHIP and finishing second in the Cy Young vote as the Giants returned to the postseason. He would sign a three-year, $47 million free-agent contract with the Dodgers after 2006 but hurt his shoulder after three starts and would make just 10 starts in his Dodgers career.
Rios played two games for the Pirates in 2002 before getting injured and 76 the next season. His last season in the majors was 2003 and he later admitted to PED use and was mentioned in the Mitchell report. Vogelsong went 10-19 with a 6.00 ERA in his Pirates career ... resurfacing years later with the Giants where he turned into a postseason hero in 2012.