The Trade Deadline: 1989
As the trade deadline comes and goes today, here is a look at what happened in the week heading up to the non-waiver trade deadline 20 years ago in 1989. Among the ones being dealt were: a future 600 home run hitter, a popular White Sox slugger, and the previous yearâ€™s Cy Young award winner.
July 27th â€“
Piatt, a 6’1â€ left-handed reliever from
Carriger pitched in Single-A Kinston after the trade, appearing in 17 games. He retired after the 1989 season.
July 28th â€“
The Orioles, who were leading the American League East by four games on the day of the trade, swapped one of their top pitching prospects, Dubois, for 35-year old hitter Keith Moreland in hopes of bolstering the club for the stretch run. Tigers General Manager Bill Lajoie, whose club was in last place, said of Dubois: â€œWe feel very fortunate to have gotten him. We feel he’s on the verge of becoming a solid major league performer.â€
Moreland was leading the Tigers with a .299 average and had five home runs and 35 RBIs at the time of the trade. However, he struggled in
Dubois never lived up to Lajoie’s expectations. He was first assigned to Triple-A but was called up less than a month later and made his debut on August 17th against the New York Yankees in the
July 29th â€“ Texas acquires OF Harold Baines and INF Fred Manrique from Chicago (AL) for LHP Wilson Alvarez, INF Scott Fletcher, and OF Sammy Sosa
White Sox GM Larry Himes, whose club had been struggling to contend in the AL West for years, dealt Baines to Texas in an unpopular deal. In return for the slugger and utility man Manrique, the Sox got veteran infielder Scott Fletcher and two top prospects that made the deal work â€“ pitcher Wilson Alverez and outfielder Sammy Sosa. Said Himes: â€œBaines came as close as anyone to being Mr. White Sox. It’s unfortunate that we had to deal him, but I feel strongly about this trade improving our club.â€ The Chicago Tribune didn’t feel that way, and said that Baines was traded for â€œpocket lint.â€
The Rangers were seven games behind the leader in the AL West at the time of the trade but Texas GM Tom Grieve filled a major spot in his lineup: the designated hitter. Ranger DHs hit a league low .198 in 1988 but Baines, hitting .321 at the time, filled the void. It had been the third big hitter Grieve had acquired since December, Rafael Palmeiro and Julio Franco being the other two. Baines hit .289 down the stretch for the Rangers, who still came up four games short of the pennant. He was later traded to Oakland in August 1990 after batting .290 in 103 games for the Rangers.
Fletcher made an immediate impact for the White Sox, driving in the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in the eighth for a 3-2 Chicago victory over the California Angels. He stuck around for two more seasons before leaving for Milwaukee via free agency. Alverez, one of the prized prospects in the deal, stayed in Chicago for 6 Â½ years before being traded to San Francisco in 1997. He won 15 games twice (1993 and 1996) and was an American League all-star in ’94. Sosa showed power but hit only .227 in his 2 Â½ year stint with the Sox before being traded to the cross-town rival Cubs for George Bell. On the other side of town, Sosa reminded White Sox fans of what could have been on every one of his 545 home runs he hit in a Cubs uniform.
As for Himes’ rebuilding project, it paid dividends. He made several other moves later on, including the acquisition of future all-star reliever Roberto Hernandez and Tim Raines in 1990. The team turned it around and won 94 games during the next season and finished a surprising 2nd in the West. The team stayed in the top half of the division before finally reaching the top in 1993.
July 31st â€“ Milwaukee acquires LHP Jerry Reuss from Chicago for RHP Brian Drahman
Himes made one final deal before the non-waiver trade deadline, trading former all-star starter Jerry Reuss to Milwaukee. The 40-year old was 8-5 on the year and Milwaukee hoped his aging arm had a few more wins in it to help them push for the AL East pennant. The Brewers were 12 games out of first place on July 18th but a recent surge had pushed them to within four games of Baltimore. Now, GM Harry Dalton added a much needed starter to a suddenly contending Brewers squad. Reliever Dan Plesac welcomed the move, saying, Reuss is a â€œtremendous boost to our staff.â€
However, Reuss struggled in Milwaukee, going 1-4 in seven starts for the Brewers. Milwaukee ended up in fourth place, eight games out of first. Drahman pitched in 38 games for the White Sox between 1991-93 and finished his career as a member of the expansion Florida Marlins in 1994.
July 31st â€“ New York (NL) acquires LHP Frank Viola from Minnesota for RHP Rick Aguilera, RHP Tim Drummond, RHP Kevin Tapani, LHP David West, and RHP Jack Savage
The other major deadline deal saw 1987 World Series MVP and 1988 AL Cy Young award winner Frank Viola move from Minnesota to New York in exchange for a bevy of young pitchers. The deal happened right before the midnight deadline as the two squads were involved in tough negotiations. The Mets did not want to part with Tapani, a prized jewel in their system, but the Twins insisted they do or no deal. Finally, the Mets, losers of their last seven ballgames, caved in and acquired Viola whom manager Davey Johnson said was â€œone of the premier left-handed pitchers in baseball.â€
The most recognizable name traded to the Twins at the time was Aguilera, who had been with the Mets for four years. He had pitched well for the Mets in his time in New York, both out of the bullpen and as a starter, but recent control problems made him expendable. In 1990, the Twins made him their full-time closer, a role he relished as he became one of the top stoppers in the American League in the early ’90s. He saved 30+ games in six seasons for Minnesota and was a key member of the 1991 World Series winning team.
Tapani was another key part to the 1991 championship team, winning 15 games for the Twins as well as Game 2 of the World Series. He was dealt to the Dodgers in 1995. West was also a member of the Series winning team as a spot starter, going 4-4. He spent 3 Â½ years with the Twins. Drummond pitched two seasons for Minnesota before wrapping up his career in the Orioles organization in 1992. Savage, who was added to the deal in December, pitched one season for the Twins in 1990, sporting an ugly 8.31 ERA in what would be his last big league season.
The trade came as a shock to Viola, who was 8-12 at the time but had pitched efficiently for the Twins. The Mets, who lost Doc Gooden in July to shoulder surgery, were hoping Viola would fill the void in the rotation. But it wasn’t the only trade GM Frank Cashen made on the day.
July 31st â€“ New York (NL) acquires LHP Jeff Musselman and RHP Mike Brady from Toronto for OF Mookie Wilson
Earlier in the day, the Mets acquired left-handed reliever Jeff Musselman and minor league hurler Mike Brady from theÂ Toronto Blue JaysÂ in exchange for a player to be named later. A day after the deadline, in an effort to free salary space for Viola, the Mets and Blue Jays agreed that the player would be Mookie Wilson.
Wilson, a key outfielder on the ’86 Mets World Series club, was in the last year of his contract and had recently been placed on waivers by the club. He departed as the club’s all-time leader in runs (592), triples (62), and stolen bases (281). The 33-year old had seen a significant dip in playing time when the Mets acquired Juan Samuel from the Phillies in June. However, in Toronto, Wilson would come in and see substantial playing time as the Jays had just lost outfielder Junior Felix with a separated shoulder. Wilson ended up playing 54 games for the Blue Jays, batting a solid .298 and helping them achieve their second AL East pennant in franchise history. The Jays ended up losing out to Oakland in the ALCS, 4-1.
Musselman was well acquainted with many Mets players already. The last time the two clubs met in spring training, Musselman hit Darryl Strawberry with a pitch, which led to both benches clearing. Musselman, only 26, had already had his bouts. He recovered from a torn rotator cuff two years before and prior to the ’89 season, he spent two months in alcohol rehab. After joining the Mets, he pitched in 20 games and established himself as one of Davey Johnson’s favorites out of the bullpen, sporting a 3.08 ERA.
As for Viola, he went 5-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts wearing a Mets uniform. However, the Mets couldn’t string together enough victories to win the division and ended up finishing second, six games behind the division winning Chicago Cubs. He stayed with the Mets for two more seasons and was named an NL all-star in both. He left as a free agent to Boston in 1992.