Trading After the Deadline

August 04, 2009 - 1:12 pm

The Red Sox walked away from the trade deadline a better team.

They got an All-Star slugging catcher in Victor Martinez and a solid defensive first baseman in Casey Kotchman, and all it cost them was Justin Masterson, Adam LaRoche and two minor leaguers.

Buchholz, Bowden, Bard '€“ all of them are still Red Sox.

But as former Sox player Lou Merloni points out on today'€™s Full Count Blog, there are still '€œa lot of questions about the roster.'€ The starting rotation, the shortstop position, and the bench are just a few of the impending issues the Sox face as they enter the tail end of the season, but all is not lost simply because the trade deadline has come and gone. Championships can sometimes be won and lost on the waiver-wire, and Sox GM Theo Epstein usually treats the waivers period just as he does the deadline: it'€™s yet another opportunity to improve his team.

History proves that waivers shouldn'€™t be disregarded. Some notable Red Sox have been born -- and lost -- through this post-deadline period:

Dave Henderson '€“ On August 19, 1986 the Sox traded Rey Quinones, three players to be named later, and some cash to the Mariners for Spike Owen and Henderson. Henderson went on to hit the series-winning homerun in the ALCS against the Angels that year, propelling the Sox to the World Series against the Mets. What ensued wasn'€™t as great'€¦

Tony Armas, Jr. '€“ On August 13, 1997 the Red Sox and Yankees made a deal that sent Mike Stanley to New York in exchange for Tony Armas, Jr. and Jim Mecir. While neither of the two players Boston received ever became All-Stars, Armas was sent along with Carl Pavano to Montreal for Pedro Martinez. Needless to say, it worked out pretty well.

John Smoltz '€“ On August 12, 1987 the Detroit Tigers made a mistake the franchise will regret for years: they traded away John Smoltz. Then only a 20-year-old prospect, Smoltz was dealt to Atlanta for veteran starter Doyle Alexander. ('s Alex Speier writes about the 1987 trade and how Smoltz, a Michigan native, reacted.)

David Ortiz '€“ Before Ortiz was '€œBig Papi,'€ before he was belting clutch homeruns, and before he was surrounded by the recent steroid controversy, he was a Wisconsin Timber Rattler in the Seattle Mariners'€™ farm system. In 1996, the team dealt Ortiz to Minnesota for Dave Hollins. The rest, as they say, is history.

Jeff Bagwell '€“ I bet the Sox wish they could have a mulligan on this one. In what has become one of the famous waiver deals in MLB history (infamous, if you hail from Boston), the Sox sent Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen on August 30, 1990. Bagwell ended up playing all 15 years of his major league career in Houston, hitting 449 homers along the way.

Last season, Theo traded for veteran pitcher Paul Byrd and outfielder Mark Kotsay, both of whom helped out during the team'€™s playoff push. But this year, the Sox GM isn'€™t so sure there will be much available pitching talent on the wires to address perhaps the team'€™s most pressing need:

"You'€™re always looking for an impact starting pitcher if you can find one, especially this time of year, but it didn'€™t come to pass," Epstein told reporters on Friday. "I don'€™t think we'€™re going to see much impactful starting pitching move in August."

To track the latest players to clear waivers, visit MLB Trade Rumors.