Baseball Prospectus: Our Favorite Midseason Trades

On the eve of this year’s trading deadline, our friends at Baseball Prospectus selected their 17 favorite midseason trades:

1) July 5, 1987: San Francisco Giants trade Chris Brown, Keith Comstock, Mark Grant and Mark Davis to the San Diego Padres for Dave Dravecky, Kevin Mitchell and Craig Lefferts
What I knew about Chris Brown was that he was young and could hit. “There’s no question in my mind that Chris Brown is the best third baseman in the National League,” his GM said a year before this trade. But what my dad told me about Chris Brown the day this trade was made was that his nickname was Chris “I’m Hurt, I’m Hurt” Brown. It was my very first exposure to snark in baseball. His teammates joked that the pitching staff had more complete games than Brown, and Joel Youngblood told a reporter, simply, “He makes me sick.” I could probably mount a spirited defense of him in hindsight, pointing out that the undiagnosable shoulder injury he complained of was ultimately diagnosed as a detached tendon, and he later underwent a complicated surgery. But Brown didn’t do his reputation any favors. He pulled himself from the Padres’ lineup just after this trade with a sore wrist (x-rays revealed no fracture) after he was hit by a pitch in batting practice (for the fourth time!). “He’s not playing until he says he’s ready,” said his new manager. “That’s all I can go by.” He would later miss time with a bruised tooth. After he joined the Tigers, he sat out after he slept on his eye wrong. Just 25 when the trade was made, he hit eight more home runs in his career.

Meanwhile, Dravecky, Mitchell, and Lefferts combined for 5.9 WARP over the rest of the 1987 season, and the Giants made the playoffs for the first time since 1971; the Padres’ four combined for 0.9 WARP that half-season. Dravecky’s comeback start in 1989 is the most memorable moment for a generation of pre-Spiezio Giants fans, and Mitchell’s MVP season of 1989 burned two numbers into my mind for good: 47 (home runs) and 125 (RBIs). I vaguely recall that one of the Marks that the Giants gave up would win the Cy Young award a couple years later. I quite clearly recall not caring. — Sam Miller

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Originally published: July 27, 2011. Last Updated: July 27, 2011.