Bargains for the Birds: Best trades in Cardinal history -

Bargains for the Birds: Best trades in Cardinal history

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(Baseball StL) -- The standard by which all baseball trades are measured is the 1964 trade of Ernie Broglio to the Chicago Cubs for future Hall of Famer Lou Brock. But in 1964, it appeared the Cubs, not the Cardinals, got the best of that deal. Broglio, a 21-game winner in 1960, was 18-8 for the Cards in 1963 and Brock was a light-hitting poor fielder with little apparent upside.

While Brock-for-Broglio was a stunning winner, most trades serve an immediate purpose for one team and a long-range goal for the other. For example, in 2003 the Cardinals had no need for J.D. Drew and sent him to the Atlanta Braves, who needed a bat to replace Gary Sheffield. In exchange, the Redbirds took their No. 1 prospect, Adam Wainwright, as well as Jason Marquis.

Other times, trades are made just to solve a problem, such as the trade of the recalcitrant Colby Rasmus to Toronto, or the jettison of Keith Hernandez to the Mets.

Here’s a look at the best Cardinals trades:

Best recent trade:

March 2000, Jim Edmonds is acquired from the Anaheim Angels for Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy. Edmonds, it was said, was a selfish player more interested in dramatics than team play. Bottenfield won 18 games in 1999, and Kennedy was a top prospect, making this unpopular at the time.

Edmonds became one of the most dependable Cardinals in recent memory and, when his St. Louis career had ended, he was sent to San Diego in what looked like a courtesy trade to get him closer to his Southern California home. The Padres parted with a promising infielder named David Freese.

Honorable mention was the July 2009 trade with the Oakland A’s in which the Redbirds got Matt Holliday for Brett Wallace. Wallace was a pure hitter who could never play third base at a high level, and he became expendable once the Cardinals completed the Edmonds-for-Freese deal.

Other recent trades, in approximate order of impact:

Cards get Jeff Weaver in 2006 from the Los Angeles Angels for minor leaguer Terry Evans. Weaver goes on to become the Cardinals best pitcher and lead them to the World Series Championship.

Cards obtain Edward Mujica from the Miami Marlins in 2012 for former first round pick, minor leaguer Zach Cox.

Cards obtained Jake Westbrook in a three-team deal in 2010 in which they gave up Ryan Ludwick.

Best Cardinal trade in my lifetime (other than Brock for Broglio):

In what looked like one of those who-cares deals, the Cardinals in 1981 traded journeyman pitcher Bob Sykes to the New York Yankees for an awkward youngster with a terrible swing named Willie McGee. McGee played 2,200 major-league games, hit .295, and was a 4-time All-Star; he won three Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger Award, two batting titles and was the MVP of the National League in 1985.

Honorable mention:

In February of 1982, the Cardinals traded All-Star shortstop Garry Templeton to the San Diego Padres for light-hitting Gold Glove shortstop Ozzie Smith. Templeton went to hit just .251 over the next 10 years and Ozzie Smith, well, he did OK.

Next: The St. Louis Cardinals’ worst trades.

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