Yankees' all-time Top 5 in-season trades
Ruffing, Cone, Chambliss made major impacts when they wore pinstripes
Will the Yankees swing a deal before the July 31 Trade Deadline? Sometimes it takes years to determine how well a team did in a trade. With the benefit of hindsight, the following are the five most notable trades in franchise history that were conducted during the regular season, according to beat writer Bryan Hoch. Agree? Disagree? Comment below:
No. 1: May 6, 1930: Yankees receive right-hander Red Ruffing from the Red Sox for outfielder/first baseman Cedric Durst and $50,000.
Ruffing's career was revived by this lopsided in-season trade from Boston to New York, and the change of scenery transformed him from a mediocre pitcher into one headed for the Hall of Fame. Ruffing's record had been just 39-96 with the dismal Red Sox, but thanks to the offensive prowess of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, Ruffing would go 231-124 with a 3.47 ERA for the Yanks, picking up six World Series rings over the next 15 seasons.
A six-time American League All-Star, Ruffing finished his career in 1947 with the White Sox and was elected into Cooperstown in 1967. Durst, meanwhile, was a good defensive player who batted .245 in 302 at-bats for Boston and never played in the Majors after the '30 campaign.
No. 2: July 28, 1995: Yankees acquire right-hander David Cone from Blue Jays for right-handers Marty Janzen, Jason Jarvis and Mike Gordon.
After first starring across town with the Mets, Cone returned to New York to try on pinstripes as a hired gun and helped the Yankees secure their first postseason appearance since 1981, going 9-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 starts in 1995. He returned from a career-threatening aneurysm to post a 20-win season in '98, and then on July 18, 1999, vs. the Expos, Cone pitched the 16th perfect game in Major League -- doing so, memorably, with Don Larsen and Yogi Berra in attendance.
All told, Cone was 64-40 with a 3.91 ERA in 145 games (144 starts) for the Yankees. Still one of the most popular dynasty-era Yankees, Cone starred as an absolute bulldog in the postseason, where he was 6-1 in 12 starts. Janzen was 6-7 with a 6.39 ERA in 27 games for Toronto in 1996-97, while Gordon and Jarvis never made it to the Majors.
No. 3: April 27, 1974: Yankees receive first baseman Chris Chambliss and right-handers Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw from Indians for left-hander Fritz Peterson and right-handers Steve Kline, Fred Beene and Tom Buskey.
Chambliss hit one of the most dramatic home runs in Yankees history, his pennant-winning drive off the Royals' Mark Littell in Game 5 of the 1976 AL Championship Series and was a solid presence at first base for the Bombers from 1974-79. In seven seasons with New York, Chambliss hit .282 with 79 homers, winning two World Series titles and driving in at least 90 runs from 1976-78.
Tidrow was useful for the Yanks, going 41-33 with a 3.61 ERA in 211 games from 1974-79 as a setup reliever and starter. Upshaw made just 36 relief appearances in '74 before being dealt to the White Sox. The deal was initially dubbed by fans, players and the media as "The Friday Night Massacre," but it turned out to be a steal for the Yankees. None of the four pitchers dealt to the Indians wound up lasting more than four seasons there.
No. 4: June 29, 2000: Yankees receive outfielder/designated hitter David Justice from Indians for right-hander Zach Day, outfielder Ricky Ledee and right-hander Jake Westbrook.
The Yankees needed a power bat as they pursued a fourth World Series title in five years, and after briefly discussing a trade for Sammy Sosa with the Cubs, they instead pulled the trigger on a trade for Justice. The veteran bolstered the lineup by hitting .305 with 20 homers and 60 RBIs in just 78 games and helping the club sweep the Mets in a Subway Series. Justice also provided pop for Joe Torre's 2001 club that took the D-backs the full seven games in the Fall Classic.
Cleveland received a good arm in Westbrook, a 2004 All-Star who has enjoyed a solid career, pitching well for both the Indians and the Cardinals. Ledee played 10 big league seasons with seven teams, mostly as a reserve while posting a .243 lifetime batting average. Day pitched in five big league seasons, going 21-27 with a 4.66 ERA.
No. 5: July 30, 2006: Yankees receive outfielder Bobby Abreu and right-hander Cory Lidle from Phillies for shortstop C.J. Henry, left-hander Matt Smith, right-hander Jesus Sanchez and right-hander Carlos Monasterios.
The deal was an undisputed Trade Deadline win for the Yankees, as Abreu contributed 2 1/2 solid seasons in right field for New York, including batting .330 with seven homers and 42 RBIs down the stretch in 2006. While not a superstar, "El Comedulce" blended in well with the Yankees' thumping lineup as a patient and consistent offensive performer.
Lidle helped in the Yanks' rotation down the stretch, making nine starts before his untimely passing at age 34 in an Oct. 11, 2006, plane accident. None of the players Philadelphia received in the deal reached the Majors, including Henry, a first-round Draft selection who quit baseball after the '08 season so he could try playing college basketball.