COMMENTARY | For a franchise that has only reached the postseason four times in nearly half a century, the Milwaukee Brewers have done just about everything in their power to play October baseball via the trade front.
Sure, the Brewers have suffered through extended periods of irrelevance, but on a few different occasions, they have made blockbuster trades to help push them over the top. You may be surprised how successful Milwaukee has been throughout the years at getting the best of its trade partners.
Honorable mention - Darrell Porter (1976), Gorman Thomas (1983), Gary Sheffield (1992), Fernando Vina (1999), Cal Eldred & Jose Valentin (2000), Shaun Marcum (2010)
5. Aug. 31, 2002: No love for Loretta
One of the most reliable players on the roster, Mark Loretta could play any infield position and consistently hit near .300 each year. He was traded to the Houston Astros for Wayne Franklin and Keith Ginter. Loretta played seven more seasons, where he became a two-time all-star. Ginter was eventually swapped for Nelson Cruz, but as we'll later find out, that move didn't exactly pay off.
4. December 13, 1999: Cirillo dealt for scrubs
While Loretta was traded for eventual wash outs, fan favorite Jeff Cirillo was part of a three-team trade that brought Jimmy Haynes, Jamey Wright and Henry Blanco to Milwaukee. Incredibly enough, both Blanco and Wright are still in the league, but neither proved to be of much service for the Brewers. Cirillo was an all-star with the Colorado Rockies immediately following the trade and played eight more seasons.
3. Nov. 17, 1992: Bichette thrives in thin air
Prior to the expansion draft, Dante Bichette was traded to the Rockies for Kevin Reimer. The humidor was yet to be installed at Coors Field, and Bichette took full advantage, hitting over 20 HRs each year and becoming a four-time all-star in eight seasons with the Rockies. Reimer? He didn't do those things.
2. July 31, 1996: Vaughn shipped off
With slugger Greg Vaughn approaching free agency, he was dealt to the San Diego Padres for Bryce Florie, Ron Villone and Marc Newfield. Newfield was supposed to be the player that made this deal for the Brewers, but he was released just two years later. Vaughn wound up hitting 50 home runs in '98 and 45 dingers in '99, finishing in the Top 5 in MVP voting twice. The Brewers basically got nothing in return for one of their best players once again as part of a miserable stretch in the late 90s and early 2000s.
1. July 28, 2006: Cruz leaves the Crew
After robbing the Oakland Athletics by essentially swapping Ginter for a top prospect in Nelson Cruz, the Brewers would then trade Cruz just a few years later to the Texas Rangers along with Carlos Lee for Kevin Mench, Lance Nix and Francisco Cordero. Yes, Cordero was an excellent closer for the Brewers, but Cruz became an all-star in '09 and is still an everyday player for the Rangers. It really wasn't necessary for Milwaukee to include a player like Cruz in the deal, and it basically shipped off two all-star caliber players for a two-year rental of a closer and two less than serviceable outfielders.
Honorable mention - Ben Oglivie (1977), Don Sutton (1982), Jeromy Burnitz (1996), Richie Sexson (2000, 2003), Carlos Gomez (2009), Nyjer Morgan (2011), Jerry Hairston Jr. (2011)
5. June 15, 1977: Striking gold with Mike Caldwell
One of the first moves the Brewers made leading up to their eventual World Series appearance, Milwaukee dealt two minor leaguers who never amounted to anything to the Cincinnati Reds for Mike Caldwell. Caldwell went 22-9 in his first full season with the Brewers, won 17 games in 1982 and won 56 percent of his starts over eight years with Milwaukee.
4. 2010, 2012: Greinke (x2)
Just as the Brewers pulled off two successful trades involving Richie Sexson, they did the same with Zack Greinke. While Milwaukee lost some promising young talent to acquire Greinke from the Kansas City Royals, including pitcher Jake Odorizzi and shortstop Alcides Escobar, they turned him around and got shortstop Jean Segura from the Los Angeles Angels. Oh, and Greinke also went 25-9 with the Brewers, never losing at Miller Park and helping lead Milwaukee to the NL Central crown.
3. July 7, 2008: CC's magical run
Fighting to make the playoffs for the first time in 26 years, the Brewers went all-in, shipping four prospects, including Matt LaPorta, for CC Sabathia. Sabathia put together one of the most notable runs in recent history, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts with Milwaukee. He memorably pitched a complete game on the final day of the regular season against the Chicago Cubs, inducing a double play to close the game and clinch the wild card.
2. Dec. 6, 1976: Coop comes to town
In what was an unpopular trade at the time, the Brewers shipped George Scott, perhaps the team's best player, and Bernie Carbo to the Boston Red Sox for Cecil Cooper. Well, it wound up being one of the best moves in franchise history, as Coop spent 11 seasons in Milwaukee and became one of the best Brewers of all-time. He finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting four years in a row (80-83) and had one of the most memorable hits in Brewers' history, a game-winning single to send Milwaukee to the World Series.
1. Dec. 12, 1980: Brewers acquire Fingers, Vuck and Simba
Everything was beginning to fall into place for the Brewers, and in the winter prior to the 1981 season, they pulled off a monster trade that brought Rollie Fingers, Pete Vuckovich and Ted Simmons to Milwaukee. Fingers won the Cy Young in '81, then Vuckovich did the same in '82. The Brewers gave up a fan favorite in Sixto Lezcano and a few solid rotation men, but if this deal doesn't go through, Milwaukee is likely still without a World Series appearance.
Dave Radcliffe is a resident of a little known Milwaukee suburb who is an avid follower of Wisconsin sports. He has contributed to JSOnline, as a featured columnist on other sites and publications, and been a guest on multiple sports talk radio shows.
You can get the discussion going and follow Dave on Twitter @DaveRadcliffe_ .
- Sports & Recreation
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Mark Loretta
- Nelson Cruz
- Keith Ginter
- Jeff Cirillo
- Dante Bichette
- Zack Greinke