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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

Best trades in Tampa Bay sports

With the Twins' Delmon Young in town this weekend to play the Rays, we are again reminded of one of the most famous trades in Rays history. Two years ago, they sent Young to the Twins and acquired shortstop Jason Bartlett and starting pitcher Matt Garza. One Tampa Bay writer -- okay, that would be me -- said shortly thereafter that if the Twins offered to undo the deal, the Rays would be crazy not to accept. With the benefit of hindsight, it's now easy to say that the trade would've been worth it if the Rays had acquired either Garza or Bartlett, let alone both. This could be the best trade in the history of Tampa Bay sports. Here is one opinion of the best trades in Tampa Bay sports history.

Garza 1. Rays trade Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie to Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan.
Nov. 28, 2007
Young hasn't developed into the star many thought he would be. He hit .290 last season with only 10 homers and 69 RBIs. This season, he is batting a mere .236 with one homer and 14 RBIs. But even if Young had developed quicker, the Rays still get the better of the deal. Bartlett was voted the team MVP last season. Garza is the ace of the Rays staff after winning Game 7 of last year's American League Championship Series and being named ALCS Most Valuable Player.

Gruden 2. Bucs trade two first-round picks, two second-round pics and $8-million to Raiders for Jon Gruden.
Feb. 18, 2002
After hastily firing Tony Dungy and being left at the altar by Bill Parcells, the Bucs were desperate to save face, especially after several other candidates fell through. That's when the Bucs turned to Gruden. The price was steep, two first-round picks and a pair of second-rounders. Was it worth it? You bet. Championships are the name of the game in pro football, and Gruden did what no other Tampa Bay coach, including the ever-popular Dungy, could ever do: deliver the Bucs a Super Bowl trophy. Do you think any other coach could have done it?

Lecavalier 3. Lightning trade Bryan Marchment to Sharks for Andrei Nazarov and choice of draft picks.
March 24, 1998
Looking at the deal, you might ask why this is on the list. It just looks like a ho-hum deadline deal of a soon-to-be-free-agent defenseman (Marchment) for a run-of-the-mill, young enforcer. But this was GM Phil Esposito's finest moment. At the last second, Espo held up the deal unless the Sharks threw in one more thing. They had Florida's 1998 first-round pick. Espo said he would do the deal if the Sharks agreed to swap first-round picks if the Panthers' pick finished ahead of the Lightning’s in the draft lottery. Because the Lightning was the odds-on favorite to win the lottery, the Sharks agreed. Turns out, Florida won the lottery and San Jose had to swap picks with Tampa Bay. What player did the Lightning select at No. 1? A center from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League named Vinny Lecavalier.

Kazmir 4. Rays trade Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato to Mets for Scott Kazmir and Jose Diaz.
July 30, 2004
Even with Kazmir now on the shelf ironing out his pitching problems, Mets fans still bang their heads against the wall over one of the worst trades that organization ever made. They traded away their top
pitching prospect for Zambrano, a veteran with control problems who won only 10 games over parts of
three seasons with the Mets before blowing out his arm and, eventually, becoming a free agent. He went through several teams and now, at age 33, is unsigned. Kazmir has been named to two All-Star teams and, at 25, he's the Rays' all-time leader in victories, strikeouts and innings pitched.

Habby 5. Lightning trades Mike Johnson, Paul Mara, Ruslan Zainullin and a second-round pick to Coyotes for Nikolai Khabibulin and Stan Neckar.
March 5, 2001
Khabibulin was one of the best goalies in hockey but sat out nearly two seasons over a contract dispute. He needed a team, and the Lightning needed a goalie -- something it hadn't had since the healthy Daren Puppa days. So Lightning GM Rick Dudley pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal that sent a package including promising young defenseman Paul Mara to Phoenix for Khabibulin. Three years later, the Bulin Wall backstopped the Lightning's only Stanley Cup.

Keyshawn 6. Bucs trade two first-round picks to Jets for Keyshawn Johnson.
April 12, 2000
Johnson was the first overall pick of the Jets in 1996 and caught 305 passes in his first four seasons. But contract problems made him available just as he was about to enter his fifth season. The Bucs, on the verge of a championship team, made the big leap and acquired him for two first-round draft picks. Over the next three seasons, Johnson became the highest-paid receiver in football and had seasons of 71, 106 and 76 receptions with a combined 14 touchdowns. He made one Pro Bowl and, most important, was a big piece of the Bucs' Super Bowl team.

Mcgriff 7. Rays trade cash to Braves for Fred McGriff.
Nov. 19, 1997
The day after the Rays had their expansion draft, they sent what is thought to be $20,000 to the Braves to acquire the Tampa-born slugger -- partly because the Braves didn't want to pay McGriff $10-million over the next two years and partly because they wanted to bring in Andres Galarraga. The Rays gladly took McGriff, who hit 97 homers with 352 RBIs over the next four years. That included consecutive 100-RBI seasons.

Boyle 8. Lightning trades fifth-round pick to Panthers for Dan Boyle.
Jan. 7, 2002
Thank you, Mike Keenan. The controversial coach was never a fan of Boyle, and Keenan rarely played him after taking over as GM-coach of the Panthers. Just happy to get anything for a player he didn't like all that much, Keenan accepted a fifth-round pick from the Lightning for Boyle. Boyle went on to become the franchise's leader among defensemen in goals and assists and was a pivotal member of the Lightning's 2004 Stanley Cup team. After being in one of the club's best all-time trades, he was the key figure in one of the worst when he was traded last summer to San Jose.

Navarro 9. Rays trade Mark Hendrickson, Toby Hall and cash to Dodgers for Dioner Navarro, Jae Seo and a player to be named.
June 27, 2006
Maybe Navarro isn't having the type of season many expected. But let's not forget, he was an All-Star during the Rays’ breakthrough 2008 season, leading the team with a .295 batting average. Essentially, the Rays traded what amounts to a backup catcher and a No. 4 starter for a starting catcher who is only 25.

Modin 10. Lightning trades Cory Cross and a seventh-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Fredrik Modin.
Oct. 1, 1999
Cross was a serviceable NHL defenseman when the Lightning shipped him to Toronto for Modin, who was only 25 at the time and coming off consecutive 16-goal seasons. During the next six seasons, Freddy Mo would average 24 goals. He was a key component of the team's 2004 Stanley Cup team, scoring eight goals with 11 assists in 23 playoff games.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:43pm]


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