“Price for $217 million? Seriously? No way.”
“You’re kidding me, Ichiro to the Yankees? Come on dude.”
“Yu Darvish to the Dodgers? They have no excuse not to take home the pennant…”
Blurbs like these are what have made baseball fan’s mouths drop over the course of the past five seasons. When thinking about where some of the league’s elite stars were playing five years ago is truly mind-boggling.
Below, are the largest blockbuster trades in the MLB that have occurred since 2012, would YOU have thought these players would end up here five years ago?
Tampa Bay Rays → Detroit Tigers → Toronto Blue Jays → Boston Red Sox
Wow. If somebody told me five years ago that 2012 Cy Young winner, David Price, would bounce around four teams before landing somewhere in 2017 – I would not believe them. Price was labeled as one of the MLB’s elitist after coming out of the gates hot in his rookie season. 2008 was the year that David was able to send his Rays to the World Series after a 4-out save. Bang another thing, he used to be a CLOSING pitcher! Boy how the times have changed.
After playing with the Rays for seven seasons it was time for a change. The journey to Detroit began for the former Cy Young winner in hopes of a bright future of being a centre-piece for a new organization. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and Price found himself in some of the biggest trade news of 2015. The call to venture north of the border was amongst Price, to come in as extra fire-power to a hot Jays playoff push. The Blue Jays were able to cook up one of the franchise’s best playoff runs since the back-to-back in 92/93’ with the help of Price. Although, baseball fans knew that if the Jays couldn’t walk away with the pennant in 2015, DP would be walking too.
The buzz was valid after the bluebirds fell short to the Royals in the ALCS (who later went on to win the World Series). During the offseason Price had to deposit the biggest check of his life. The Boston Red Sox signed free-agent David Price to a whopping $217M dollar contract which would make him the highest paid pitcher in the MLB. $969,000 per start, $143,000 per inning, $9k per pitch, $1 per second… unheard of. Price is still tossing for the Red Sox in 2017 after just recently returning from the DL. Who knows where the Tennessean will end up next, only time will tell.
Courtesy: Nick Cafardo/Boston Globe
Colorado Rockies → Toronto Blue Jays
Former 5-time all-star, Troy Tulowitzki, is no stranger to the element of surprise. On a brisk Tuesday morning in early July 2015, Tulo woke up to the news that he had been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. His emotions were reflected much differently than the excited Canadian baseball fans waiting to welcome him. After being loyal to the Colorado Rockies for nine seasons, a trade that kicked Jose Reyes out of the “6” and brought Tulo in was very unexpected. It made sense, after all of the trouble Reyes had been getting into with domestic violence, the Jays wanted to get rid of him and try a new vibe.
Alongside with the addition of Price and the already intact core of; Bautista, Encarnacion, and Donaldson – Troy was officially a part of the miracle build Blue Jays season that Alex Anthopoulos had orchestrated. Unfortunately as previously discussed, they fell just short. Now, for Tulowitzki, Toronto has not been much of a cakewalk since his debut season for the team. After coming from a franchise that curated him to become a 2-time Gold Glove and 2-time Silver Slugger, the struggle above the border has been rough. Before Toronto, Tulo averaged close to 80 runs and 135 each campaign. He also finished 1st in many defensive stats league wide as a shortstop multiple times (Assists, Putouts, Double Plays Turned). To this day he still is the active leader league-wide in Fielding % by a shortstop.
Injury-prone, unfortunately, sums up his recent time with the Jays playing only 66 games this season before being ruled out indefinitely (which has reflected poorly statistically during his stint in Toronto). Truth be told, Tulowitzki’s peak calibre may have already been reached in his miraculous 2007 season. Although, fingers stay crossed for a hopeful 2018 season. If somebody popped the question in 2012 of “What does Tulo look like in five years?” would you know what to say?
Courtesy: Kenny Ducey/Sports Illustrated
Seattle Mariners → New York Yankees → Miami Marlins
Ichi, the baseball wizard, the living legend who has been making moves for almost two decades in the MLB. Suzuki has raked in 10 all-star bouts, 10 gold glove selections, and 3 silver slugger awards… that’s crazy talk. Before being brought over to the major leagues, Ichiro spent nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave of the NFB in his homeland Japan. Being of Japanese descent is something that is not seen very often in the MLB, especially in 2001 which he made his debut. Before the blink of an eye, he put all of those stereotypes aside by winning AL MVP in his first MLB season.
The Ichiro campaign has definitely been something out of a novel. The Japanese has been the centrepiece of two huge trades in his career which contrast his monster stats. 12 seasons, a .322 batting average and 2500 hits in Seattle, it was time for a switch up. Some of the biggest news in a long time in baseball had arisen, ‘Ichiro Leaves Seattle’. Why wouldn’t he just want to play out his career for one franchise? Change is the answer. In 2012 Ichiro signed with the Yankees and a few years later signed with the Marlins where he is still playing his heart out today. On July 6, the Wizard set the MLB record for most hits by a foreign-born player which was shortly before joining Club 3,000. Ichiro, forty-three years of age, says he wants to play until he’s 50.
Courtesy: Nick Wass/Associated Press
Yu Darvish/Justin Verlander
Texas Rangers → Los Angeles Dodgers / Detroit Tigers → Houston Astros
Two of baseball’s prized pitchers have recently split from their roots. Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander were the two gigantic names to come out of the 2017 trade deadline. It is almost unjust to be throwing around that much talent and contract money within days of each other. Yu Darvish, the former Texas Ranger has now signed onto the 2017 super-team LA Dodgers. Although in recent news, the Dodgers have lost 20 of their last 26 games JUST after winning 30 of 35. Thankfully, there is no reason to hit the panic button yet as they are still the heavy favourites to win the pennant – with the addition of Darvish, there is no excuse not to be. On the flip side, Justin Verlander has been a rock in the Tigers organization for just over 13 years and has recently begun a new endeavour. The Houston Astros added some more fire to their bullpen with the addition of Justin in hopes of also making a run at the pennant. Although both of these moves are recent, they are some of the biggest over the past five years.
Shooters, Shoot your shot