Steve Slowinski wrote a piece a week ago about the importance of developing trade strings, particularly for the teams in small to mid-markets. I'll let Steve explain:
To lead off this series (no pun intended), I want to look at a concept that has always fascinated me: trade strings. I'm pretty sure I just made that phrase up, so let me explain what I mean. "Trade strings" are trades that eventually result in future trades. And then those trades beget future trades. And so on and so forth down the road until eventually, a prospect or two doesn't pan out and the trade string fades. Theoretically, if a team was exceptionally good at evaluating talent and got lucky in some trades, a team could keep one player's peak talent within their system for decades, even long after that original player had declined and fallen out of baseball.
This gave me the idea of looking at every major league transaction on the Rays major league tree. I'm going to divide the Rays history into 3 groups. The Live Trade Strings involve strings of players that are still paying dividends today. The Dead Trade Strings were attempts at parlaying assets into others which have since faded into oblivion. The One and Dones involve Free Agents, Waiver Claims, Draftees, and Players purchased who spent part of one or more seasons with the Rays but eventually left the team with nothing in return.
For Part I, we will look back at the Dead Trade Strings in order from the first string to die to the most recent. Our very first Dead Trade String was touched on by Eric Hahmann earlier this week.
1997 trade: Dmitri Young for Mike Kelly (Released in 1999)
|1997 Trade||Acquired||Trade Salary||PT- OPS||NT-OPS||Original Draft|
|Dmitri Young||1997 Expansion Draft||$215K||.690/2yrs||.842/4yrs||1st 1991|
|Mike Kelly||Released 1999||$235K||.823/2yrs||.696/1 yr||1st 1991|
The first trade was really a phantom one. On November 11, 1997 the Rays acquired Mike Kelly from the Redsfor a Player to Be Named Later. A week later, the Rays acquired Da Meat Hook, the older brother of Delmon Youngin the expansion draft from the Reds and returned him to Cincinnati as the Player to Be Named Later. Kelly would start 67 games in the corner outfield spots for the Rays in their inaugural season posting a slash of .240/.295/.401. The former first round pick would be released prior to the start of the following season and would only get to see 2 future Major League plate appearances with Colorado before his sun set for good.
Dmitri Young started 87 games for the Reds in 1998 mostly in the outfield corners with a slash of .310/.364/.481. Young would continue to post an OPS north of .830 for his tenure with the Reds prior to being traded to the Tigers for Juan Encarnacion and Luis Pineda. Young continued to play in the majors through 2008 posting a career slash of .292/.351/.475. Meanwhile Encarnacion would be packaged with Wilton Guerrero and Ryan Snare to the Marlins for Ryan Dempsterin 2002. Sadly for the Reds, they released Dempster in 2003, thus ending their Mike Kelly string prior to Dempster's success with the Cubbies. Nonetheless, the Reds won the day in this one quite handily.
1999 Trade: Julio Santanafor Will Silverthorn (Released 1999)
Julio Santana was acquired via waiver claim from Texas in April 1998 where he had spent two years splitting his time between the rotation and the bullpen. Santana did not do much for the Rays posting a FIPs of 5.29 and 6.37 with a K:BB hovering around 1 in 1998 and 1999. In July 1999, Santana was traded to the Red for cash and a Player to Be Named later (Will Silverthorn). Santana was granted free agency by the Red Sox following the season. He made 3 more dips in the majors in relief roles, his most recent being in 2006 with the Phillies.
I was unable to find much on Silverthorn. As a 19 year southpaw he fared well in rookie ball for Boston striking out 39 while walking 13 in 44.2 IP. In, 1999 after being acquired by the Rays, he made 7 relief appearances in Princeton striking out 8 and walking 7 in 9.2 innings pitched. I would speculate he had arm troubles as he did not reappear in the minors until 2001 when he surfaced with the independent Tyler Roughnecks. He only lasted 12 games and was never heard from again. Given that Santana was less than a replacement player, this deal saved the Rays money, I suppose that is a moral victory. Hurrah!