Mail 3’s Biggest (But Not Always the Brightest)
By Ethan Conner-Ross
and Marc Ross
Over the years many APBA managers have told us that
for them trading and drafting are the most exciting part of league
participation. While these managers report that playing the games is fine, it’s
wheeling and dealing that really turns them on. With that in mind we decided to
look back at Mail 3 trades over the past 12 seasons and report our assessment
of how managers did in twenty of the league’s biggest deals. By biggest we mean
deals that involved stars at the time they were traded—or ones who turned out
to be superstars later. (Remember that when George W.
Bush’s Texas Rangers traded Sammy Sosa
he just looked liked another five tool Latin ballplayer who
might or not make it).
First, a little background on Mail 3
trades. As you can see from the table below, way back in the last decade
of the last millenium, trading was far less common and in addition, the
proportion of trades involving draft picks was smaller than today. By the
middle of the decade, trading and trading of picks increased significantly.
However, it has been in the last three years that Mail 3 trading has reached
its highest level. We see two possible explanations at work here: one is the
rise of email has allowed managers to communicate more
easily with each other. The other is Woody.
We won’t select among these two but will let each manager reach his own
Below we list the trades by year. In cases where the
trades involved draft picks, we include the player eventually selected with
that pick in parentheses although in a number of cases the pick was traded at
least one more time so that the player selected did not necessarily go to the
team who first received him in the trade that is listed.
Warren sends Von Hayes and Jon Olerud to Pinawa for Rob Deer, Pete Incaviglia
and Willie Randolph (1991).
with 54 homers over 3 seasons but the rookie Olerud
would prove a key part of Pinawa’s 1993 World Series
title as the Brookfield Black Hawks, leading the league in on base and
delivering 56 doubles from the three hole in the
sends Joe Carter to Winnipeg for Bobby Bonilla
and Luis Rivera (1992).
This swap of two of the game’s
premier power hitters at the time proved somewhat of a disappointment for both
teams, as Bonilla’s average dipped below .200 in his second season with Warren while Carter moved along to River
City after just one year with Winnipeg, where he
delivered 141 homers in 4 seasons.
Kiowa sends Gary Sheffield
for Larry Walker (1993).
Another swap of preeminent
offensive talents, neither has disappointed ownership since. Walker has posted some of the greatest
seasons in Mail 3 history as a member of Seine River and South End teams, while
Sheffield has hit in the middle of the Cary lineup ever since.
sends Kevin Brown and Warren’s 1994 2RDC (Brad Ausmus) to Decatur for Mark Langston
and Ivan Rodriguez (1993).
A classic pitching for offense
deal netted Decatur Kevin Brown, who has fronted the rotation ever since,
winning the league Cy Young in 1997 with 27 wins and winning the World Series
MVP in 1996. Pudge meanwhile has gone on to a fine career primarily with
acquired him a subsequent deal for Mickey Tettleton.
sends Kevin Tapani and Mo Vaughn to Warren for Mark Langston
and Jeff Montgomery (1994).
was traded back to Decatur
again in another premier deal with closer Jeff Montgomery
in 1994. Tapani would go on to produce solid years for Warren
but the key was Vaughn, who developed
into a top offensive force in the mid 90s.
Brightstone sends Brightstone’s
1996 1RDC (Jim Edmonds)
and 1996 6RDC (Antonio
to Brookfield for Pedro Martinez,
Bret Saberhagen, Trevor Wilson,
Tim Pugh, Brookfield’s 1997 5RDC (Billy Spiers) and Brightstone’s
1996 9RDC (Jeff
Pedro Martinez was a terrific move even if the
draft pick no matter what. Getting other players of mixed value along with him
was even better. No matter that the pick he dealt turn out to be xxx. The real
problem here is the Brightstone didn’t keep Pedro
and send him on the Warren just when he was
getting good—really good. Edmonds
pick traded to Emmett (#3 pick
overall). Spiers pick traded to Bryn Mawr.
Cary sends Greg Maddux, Darren
Daulton and Cary’s 1997
3RDC (Matt Lawton) to Bryn Mawr
for Mike Piazza, Ricky Bones
and Lou Whitaker (1996).
Hitting rich with Bagwell,
Alou and a young A-Rod in the middle of the lineup, Bryn Mawr
dealt away offensive star Piazza for the game’s best pitcher, Greg Maddux. Piazza has
Sheffield in the middle of the Cary
lineup since, but Bryn
Mawr got the ace starter it
craved, with Maddux winning 6 playoff games on his way to the World Series MVP
award that year. Maddux
would win 115 games in six years in a Topper uniform making him winningest
all-time Hilltopper pitcher. Lawton
pick traded to River
Mawr sends Jim Thome
and Bret Boone to Morse Place for Chuck Knoblauch
and Antonio Osuna (1998).
move across the diamond to first conflicted with the presence of Jeff Bagwell, leading
to a trade for one of the game’s premier second baseman. Knoblauch
proceeded to play himself out of the infield and eventually the majors, while Bret Boone
developed a power stroke and Jim
Thome continued to be one of the
top offensive forces in the game well into his 30s. Gotta
see this as one of the worst deals we came across considering the value that
Thome and Boone could have brought within a few
Michigan sends Todd Zeile,
Mike Lieberthal, Willie Blair and Darrin Oliver to Brightstone for Jason
Giambi, Waterloo’s 1998 1RDC (Todd Helton),
1998 2RDC (Fernando
Tatis), Brightstone’s 1998 3RDC (Manny Aybar)
and Brightstone’s 1999 2RDC (Geoff Jenkins)
Michigan gave away four players of varying
ability to get what turned out to be two superstars in Giambi and Helton and
three other players. The huge mistake that Michigan
made here is that having both Giambi and Helton,
Michigan decided to trade the
older player which was fine. But Giambi was shipped off to South End along with
Eric Milton for a draft pick that turned out to
be Ronnie Belliard when
Eagle Rock pick him 17th the next year.
South End never looked back and won tghree straight
titles with Giambi in the center of its lineup. Brightstone, needless to say,
did badly in this deal as they badly underestimated what Giambi and the picks
could have brought the team.
sends San Marino’s 1998 1RDC
and Michigan’s 1998 2RDC (Tony Graffanino) to Michigan for Michigan’s
1999 1RDC, Morse Place’s
1998 2RDC (Juan
Encarnacion), Morse Place’s 1998 3RDC (Glendon
Rusch), Brightstone’s 1999 2RDC (Geoff Jenkins)
and Ruben Rivera (1998).
was a huge deal involving top draft picks—one of the first of its kind we
found. San Marino liked Edgar Renteria
who they had taken the year before and Michigan
salivated over the chance to take Nomar Garciaparra with the San Marino
pick, the first one in the draft. For a while San Marino was torn about what to
do and decided to see what he could get for Renteria. Columbus offered Sammy Sosa
but San Marino held out for Juan
Gonzalez thinking that Sammy was over the hill already. The next year Michigan’s top pick turned out to be less valuable than San Marino
had thought it would be and it netted Adrian Beltre
who was taken along with Juan
and… So the deal worked out to be Garciaparra and Tony
Graffanino for Beltre,
Encarnacion, Glendon Rusch and Geoff Jenkins.
Another competitor for the worst deal we uncovered.
Memphis sends Jim Edmonds, Tony Gwynn, Matt Stairs and Memphis’ 1999 4RDC (Jim Mecir) to Morse Place for John Wetteland,
John Valentin, Darryl Hamilton, Matt Lawton, Morse
Place’s 2000 2RDC (Mike Lowell) and Overbrook’s 2000 3RDC (Kevin McGlinchy) (1999).
Memphis unloaded an
outfield. Gwynn was nearing the end of his career but
had some good years left. Other than Mike Lowell
who turned out to be an excellent 2RDC, Memphis
disn’t get much lasting value back. Morse Place did
well in this deal but failed to keep Edmonds
Eagle Rock sends John Smoltz
and Ryan Klesko to San Marino for Ray Durham, Javier
Vazquez, Preston Wilson, Jay Powell and San Marino’s 2000 2RDC (Gookie Dawkins) (2000).
Needing a top-flight starter
for a playoff run, the Sting targeted Smoltz, the
most attractive player inherited by Woody Studenmund
from the Dunwoody roster.
The package of young talent speaks for itself, though none would
and extended amount of time on the Eagle Rock roster. Smoltz,
meanwhile, blew out his elbow the next week but has since returned as a closer.
Eagle Rock sends Ray Durham, David Segui, Brian Moehler, Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Steve Kline to Morse Place for Jim
Edmonds, Tony Gwynn, Morse Place’s 2001 (Mark Redman)
1RDC and 2000 4RDC (Ramon Hernandez) (2000).
Edmonds moved on to Eagle Rock
and their management showed unusal patience in
waiting until Edmunds got heathy and was able to
contribute to the team’s success the last two years. Redmond wound up being picked by Decatur and Hernandez
was traded to Decatur
Millstone sends Pedro Martinez to Eagle Rock for
Mike Cameron, Ron Belliard, Toronto’s 2001 1RDC (Benji Molina), Waterloo’s 2001 2RDC (Derrek
Lee), Millstone’s 2001 3RDC (Jimmy Anderson), Michigan’s 2001 3RDC (John
Burkett), South End’s 2001 3RDC (Curtis Leskanic),
Michigan’s 2002 2RDC (Jay Gibbons) and Eagle Rock’s 2002 2RDC (Joe Kennedy)
Pedro at this point in his career
netted Millstone a ton of picks and his string of A’s have kept Eagle Rock at the
top of the league. As best we can determine they turned out to be a mixed bag
and not all of them ever played for the Waterboys. To
Lee is the best player Millstone
selected and to date, Eagle Rock seems to have gotten the best of this trade.
River City sends Randy Johnson, Todd Hundley and
Roberto Hernandez to Eagle Rock for Travis Dawkins, Mike Darr,
Brian Rose, Wicki Gonzalez, Bryn Mawr’s 2001 1RDC
(Britt Rheames), Belknap’s
2001 2RDC (Adam Piatt), Michigan’s 2001 2RDC (Jay Payton), Waterloo’s 2001 3RDC
(Dan Reichert) and Durham’s 2001 3RDC (Brian Tollberg) (2001).
Here is another trade in which
Eagle Rock got a top notch pitcher for a ton of bodies and picks. Johnson, like Martinez,
continues to get A’s and the two of them have kept Eagle Rock at the top of the
league for the last few years. So far there is nothing of real value that River City
got in return. Dawkins, Darr and Rose have just had cups of coffee in the majors and
Payton was picked by Millstone and never played for River City.
Eagle Rock sends Derek Jeter
and Todd Hundley to New York for Miguel Tejada,
Kevin Millwood and Jason Kendall
New York got a fine
player in Jeter but Tejeda is probably the better offensive player and he is
younger. Of course Tejeda was still a bit of a prospect and Millwood and Kendall were hurt at the time so despite the high price New York paid for a
favorite player, it looked like a pretty good swap at the time for both sides.
Belknap sends Rafael Furcal
and Belknap’s 2002 1RDC (Corey Patterson)
for Mark Buehrle and Jason Bere (2002).
Furcal had been a top pick the year before but Belknap
wanted pitching. Buehrle has had a fine start for his
career although some scouts think he can’t keep it up. Bere
is probably done but Furcal has come back in 2004 to
post outstanding numbers so far and he just might provide Raleigh with a
fine shortstop and leadoff hitter for a decade or so. Corey Patterson
is a young budding star and his inclusion in the deal made it costly to Belknap
sends Curt Schilling and Waterloo’s
2002 1RDC (Alfonso
Soriano) to San Marino for Darin Erstad,
Odalis Perez, San Marino’s 2002 1RDC (Ben
Sheets), Durham’s 2002 2RDC (Cesar Izturis) and Cary’s 2002 2RDC (Nate
Waterloo decided to rebuild so he sent Schilling and his
first pick to San Marino
for younger players—Erstad and Perez
who soon had a breakout season and three good picks that he used to pick xxxx. San Marino
Soriano with the Waterloo pick
Osborne sends Miguel Tejada, Jose Canseco, Chris Carpenter, Michael Barrett and David Bell to
South End for Magglio Ordonez, Alex Cora, Joe Girardi,
Rob Bell, Shane Reynolds, South End’s 2002 1RDC (Dennys Baez)
and 2002 2RDC (Doug
Osborne’s 2002 2RDC (D’Angelo Jiminez) and
South End’s 2003 2RDC (Miguel
This is an interesting deal. South End
really wanted a top-notch shortstop and had excess outfield talent and picks.
Ordonez is a top line outfielder and the first and three second round picks
brought a good deal of potential to Osborne. If Baez
and Jimenez put up some good years and if Ordonez since traded to Bryn Mawr
yielded real value then it could be deal that wound up a benefiting both teams.
Bryn Mawr, Osborne, San Marino and South End completed
a 4 way deal (2003).
Bryn Mawr sends A.J. Burnett, Bryn Mawr’s 2003 1RDC and Brad Radke
and received Magglio Ordonez, Billy Koch
and San Marino’s 2003 4RDC (Nick Neugenbauer).
Osborne sends Magglio Ordonez, Frank Thomas, Mark
Loretta and Grant Roberts and received A.J. Burnett, Brad Radke, Sean Casey,
Juan Encarnacion, San Marino’s
2003 2RDC (Mike Cuddyer) and South End’s 2003 4RDC
San Marino sends Kerry Wood, Russ Ortiz, Sean Casey, Billy Koch,
Juan Encarnacion, San Marino’s 2003 2RDC, 2003 4RDC, 2003 6RDC and 2003 7RDC
and received Chipper Jones, Frank Thomas, Grant Roberts, Mark Loretta and Bryn
Mawr’s 2003 1RDC (Jake Peavy).
South End sends Chipper Jones and South End’s
2003 4RDC and received Kerry Wood, Russ Ortiz, San Marino’s 2003 6RDC (Ramon
Santiago) and 2003 7RDC (Ben Broussard).
By far the largest trade in
league history involving four teams 18 players and picks!!! This trade involved
some huge starts—Ordonez, Chipper Jones, and Kerry Wood
and some picks that produced Brett Myers
and some other potential stars. To early to decide how it turned out.