|Big December 2009 trade has big impact||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on September 19, 2011
Rarely does a blockbuster trade involving at least three teams wind up being fair for everyone.
The December 2009 trade between the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers, however, has been a balanced trade for all three teams, and it will have major implications as these teams work toward a World Series run.
The Tigers sent speedy center fielder Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and journeyman pitcher Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks. The Yankees dealt youngster Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks as well as lefty Phil Coke and superstar prospect Austin Jackson to the Tigers. Finally, the Diamondbacks traded hard-throwing righty Max Scherzer and lefty reliever Daniel Schlereth to the Tigers.
Starting with the Yankees, the only player they acquired was Granderson. Though he led off in Detroit, he really isn't suited to be a leadoff man, and the Yankees learned that quickly. He had a decent year in the Bronx, hitting .249 with 24 home runs and 67 RBIs despite missing some time due to injury.
However, this year Granderson is having a career year. He currently sits at 39 home runs and an AL league-leading 111 RBIs. He has thrived in the powerful Yankees batting order, and he is even a legitimate contender to win the AL MVP. Since he's still just 30 years old, the Yankees should have a productive Granderson for at least another five-plus years.
Now on to the Diamondbacks, they probably didn't know right away what they were getting in Kennedy, who the team allowed to get his feet wet at the Major League level. He finished 9-10 with a 3.80 ERA in 32 starts -- not terrible numbers for a young pitcher on a bad team.
But Kennedy this year has shown why he was included in this deal. He's leading the NL with 19 wins and has a 2.99 ERA to boot. There's no other way to describe him except that he's been completely unstoppable.
The Diamondbacks have themselves an ace in the making, if he isn't one already. At just 26 years old, Kennedy could be the most valuable acquisition of the three-team trade. Let's see if he can continue his success in the playoffs.
The Diamondbacks also received Edwin Jackson in the trade. Though he threw a no-hitter last season, it featured eight walks and 149 pitches. His 6-10 record forced him out of town and to the Chicago White Sox. He was dealt this year at the trade deadline to the St. Louis Cardinals. He's pitched for six teams in nine seasons and is easily the biggest bust of this trade.
Based on numbers, the Tigers received the most value of any team in the trade. Scherzer highlights the list, since, like Kennedy, he's only 26 and has his best years in front of him. Despite a 4.27 ERA, he's won 14 games this season. Having the luxury of learning from Justin Verlander can only positively affect his future progress.
Jackson has the makings of a solid big leaguer as well. He has great speed and plays a tremendous defensive center field, but as a leadoff hitter, he must find a way to cut down on his strikeouts. He led the AL last season with 170 strikeouts and is on the same pace this season.
The final two players of this deal, Schlereth and Coke, may be overlooked, but that doesn't mean they haven't contributed to their new team. Schlereth was thrust into full-time relieving duty this season and has responded well. He's held lefties to just a .150 batting average against. In the playoffs against David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton or Robinson Cano, Schlereth's service will be vital.
Coke was slow out of the gate as a starter this season (1-7) before being reassigned to the bullpen. Since July, he's only given up 10 earned runs in 27 appearances, going the entire month of August without giving up a run. He's a valuable swingman whose experience starting may be useful for an extended outing in the playoffs.The three-way deal was definitely one of the more balanced multi-team trades in recent years. But the playoffs are what truly matter in baseball, so keep an eye on which of these players step up and which players crumble under pressure.