CNNSI.com Statitudes Statitudes

 

Send in the cavalry

A look at baseball's best 'hired guns'

Posted: Tuesday July 30, 2002 2:36 AM
  Ray Durham The A's are expecting large contributions from Ray Durham. AP

By Jacob Luft, CNNSI.com

It's not easy being the big midseason acquisition.

When the deal is made to bring in a big hitter or stud pitcher, it creates a buzz throughout a city. Fans, players and media love the move.

But what about the player himself? He is expected to have the best half-season of his career, carry the team to the postseason. Often, it doesn't work out that way.

Of the dozens of trades made at or near the deadline in recent years, only a few players were able to distinguish themselves right away. Fred McGriff ignited the Braves in 1993, helping them reach the postseason. But Curt Schilling went 5-6 for Arizona in 2000 as the club stumbled to a third-place finish. It wasn't until 2001 that he reverted to his dominant form.

This season, Ryan Dempster was supposed to give the Reds a boost, but he has been torched in losing three starts. The results have been similarly poor for Yankees pickups Jeff Weaver (8.00 ERA) and Raul Mondesi (.212). Bartolo Colon has flourished for the Expos, winning four of six starts with three complete games, but Cliff Floyd has yet to produce at the plate, hitting .204 with three RBIs.

Adding to the burden on these "hired guns" is the steep price teams pay for their services. Many a top prospect -- Terrence Long, Jeff Bagwell, Schilling, Derek Lowe, John Smoltz, Freddy Garcia, to name a scant few -- were once used as bait for short-term help.

Here is a look at some players who were able to make the midseason transition gracefully:

A Little Help
Year  Player  Team  Ex-Team  Avg.  HR  RBI 
2001  Jermaine Dye  A's*  Royals  .366  61  41  13  59 
2001  Fred McGriff  Cubs  Devil Rays  .282  49  27  12  41 
2001  Andres Galarraga  Giants  Rangers  .288  49  17  35 
2000  Will Clark  Cardinals*  Orioles  .345  51  29  12  42 
2000  Charles Johnson  White Sox*  Orioles  .326  44  24  10  36 
2000  David Justice  Yankees*  A's  .305  78  43  20  60 
1999  Randy Velarde  A's  Angels  .333  61  48  28 
1997  Harold Baines  Orioles*  White Sox  .291  44  15  15 
1997  Craig Counsell  Marlins*  Rockies  .299  51  20  16 
1997  Mark McGwire  Cardinals  A's  .253  51  38  24  42 
1996  Cecil Fielder  Yankees*  Tigers  .260  53  30  13  37 
1995  Bobby Bonilla  Orioles  Mets  .333  61  47  10  46 
1993  Fred McGriff  Braves*  Padres  .310  68  59  19  55 
Year  Pitcher  Team  Ex-Team  W-L  ERA  BB  SO 
2001  Woody Williams  Cardinals*  Padres  7-1  2.28  19  52 
2001  Jason Schmidt  Giants  Pirates  7-1  3.39  33  65 
2000  Bob Wickman  Indians  Brewers  1-3  14  3.38  12  11 
1999  Randy Johnson  Astros*  Mariners  10-1  1.28  26  116 
1999  Kenny Rogers  Mets*  A's  5-1  4.03  28  58 
1999  Juan Guzman  Reds  Orioles  6-3  3.03  21  60 
1999  Matt Mantei  D'backs*  Marlins  0-1  22  2.79  19  49 
1995  Andy Benes  Mariners*  Padres  7-2  5.86  33  45 
1995  David Cone  Yankees*  Blue Jays  9-2  3.82  47  89 
1992  David Cone  Blue Jays*  Mets  4-3  2.55  29  47 
1988  Mike Boddicker  Red Sox*  Orioles  7-3  2.63  26  56 
1987  Doyle Alexander  Tigers*  Braves  9-0  1.53  26  44 
1984  Rick Sutcliffe#  Cubs*  Indians  16-1  2.69  39  155 
* Made playoffs
# Won NL Cy Young
 

 
Related information
Stories
Statitudes: Week in Baseball, By The Numbers
Rolen traded to St. Louis in five-player deal
Trade analysis: Cardinals trade for Rolen
Multimedia
Visit Video Plus for the latest audio and video

 


 
CNNSI