Tampa Bay has a mixed history of making trades

by Gary Shelton on February 28, 2018 · 2 comments

in general

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

Now that he has established himself as the Master of the Deal, we are prepared to build a statue for Steve Yzerman. All he has to do is win a cup, and he'll be golden forever.

There was so much to like about Monday's trade to acquire Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. It was a move that signaled than the Bolts were going for the big prize, pedal to the medal. It was a fine way to address the most glaring weakness of a pretty good team. It was a signal that pretty-good-isn't-enough. It was a move that said you could have to  be bold to be beautiful.

Oh, there is risk. Of course, there is risk. The Bolts gave up a former No. 1 draft choice, a former No. 2, this year's No. 1 and either next year's No. 2 or No. 1. There is a chance one of them could become a superstar. There is a chance that McDonagh doesn't fit in. Or that he takes more time to get through his injury. When you trade, you embrace the unknown.

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If anyone knows that, it should be a fan of sports in Tampa Bay. Over our history, there have been trades that clinched some of the best moments in team history. And there have been trades that make you wince even now. As much as most of us seem to like the Lightning trade, it is fair to wonder which stack this deal goes down in.

Here we go then:

The Top 10 Trades in Tampa Bay History

1. Okay, this is cheating a bit, because it is actually two interrelated deals. In 1995, new general manager Rich McKay liked Warren Sapp, but he thought he was too risky to take at No. 7. So McKay traded back, still drafted Sapp, and used the return to trade up and take Derrick Brooks. It was the finest non-playing day in Bucs' history. Two Hall of Famers and the start of the Bucs' golden years.

2. Much like this season, the 2004 Lightning were a talented bunch. But the team still had defensive holes. So general manger Jay Feaster went out and traded Alexander Svitov for Columbus' Darryl Sydor. The burst of energy that came with the trade helped the Bolts win the Stanley Cup.

3. Funny, but at the time, this seemed like a risky trade, It was 2008, and the Rays moved former No. 1 pick Delmon Young (and parts) to Minnesota for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and a minor-league pitcher. Bartlett anchored the Rays infield, and Garza would go on to win Game 7 of the American League championship.

4. Some may criticize the Bucs' trade for Jon Gruden. After all, they gave up a lot: Two No. 1s, Two No. 2s and $8 million. But the Bucs won the Super Bowl the next year, which forgives overspending. It is still the Bucs' finest hour.

5. When Joe Madden talks about where the Rays' success begins, he starts with the 2007 trade for Dan Wheeler, who helped to set a tone in the team's bullpen. Wheeler came for Ty Wigginton.

6. In a steal, the Lightning obtained defenseman Dan Boyle in 2003 for a fifth-round pick from Miami.

7.In 2001, the Lightning traded three players (Mike Johnson, Paul Mara and Ruslan Zainullin, for goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who led the Bolts to the Stanley Cup in 2004.

8. In a steal, the Bucs obtained linebacker Richard Wood in 1977 for a seventh round draft pick from the Jets.

9. In 2004, the Bucs traded Keyshawn Johnson for Joey Galloway. It didn't seem like much, because the Bucs had already run Johnson off for his attitude problems. Getting anything at all was a bonus. In Galloway, they obtained a receiver who still had speed.

10. The Bolts didn't want to trade Marty St. Louis in 2014. But St, Louis insisted on it. Steve Yzerman was forced into a trade for a first-round pick, a second-round pick and Ryan Callahan. Not bad for having your hands tied.

The Worst 10 Trades in Tampa Bay History

1. The worst one is easy. In 1982, the Bucs wanted desperately to draft Booker Reese, who they saw as their next Lee Roy Selmon. but a bad telephone connection led them to take Sean Farrell instead. To compound the error, the Bucs traded their No. 1 pick in 1983 to take Reese, who flopped badly. Even worse: If they had kept their No. 1 pick in 1983, they could have taken Dan Marino.

2. The Lightning thought of Marc Denis as the team's next solid goaltender.  They traded Freddy Modin for him in 2006, He flopped badly, however, winning just 18 games in two years before being released.

3. The Bucs needed a quarterback badly after Doug Williams left. They did not need a bad quarterback. Still, they dealt a No. 1 for Jack Thompson, who won three games in two years.

4. Who knows what Ray Perkins was thinking when they traded their No. 1 pick for Colts' backup Chris Chandler. Chandler never won a start for the Bucs and ended up being released.

5. Despite the advice of general manager Jay Feaster, cowboy Lightning owners Oren Koulis and Len Barry traded Brad Richards for goaltender Mike Smith, Jeff Halpert, Jussi Jokinen and a fourth-round draft pick. It was a tragic way to lose Richards.

6. In 2001, the Bucs thought tackle Kenyatta Walker was the way to get over the hump. He wasn't. The Bucs traded first- and  second-round picks to Buffalo to take Walker, who struggled on the left side.

7. In 2014, the Rays traded pitcher David Price for Drew Smuly (gone), Nick Franklin (gone) and shortstop Willy Adames (yet to arrive). It was another example of the Rays trading a contract instead of a player.

8. It wasn't thought of much at the time. In 1986, however, the Bucs traded the rights for Doug Williams to Washington for a fifth-round pick. It turned into a big deal when Williams won the Super Bowl in 1987.

9.  Despite having Heisman runner-up Steve Young on the roster, the Bucs drafted Vinny Testaverde and shipped off Young for a second- and a fourth-round draft pick. Young, once he got away from the coaches here, went on to the Hall of Fame.

10. The Rays didn't wait long to mess up.  In 1997, They traded Bobby Abreu for shortstop Kevin Stocker, who struggled. In eight years with the Phillies, Abreu hit .305.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bruce Brownlee March 1, 2018 at 1:45 am

OMG Gary, this column was a bitter one to reprocess. Either I easily recall negative events more readily OR the teams in this market (all my faves) have too many of them. Let’s say its a little of both…..

The Booker Reese trade/draft choice….I’ll go a step further and say that was the worse trade/draft pick in the history of SPORTS. The Bucs have tried to outdo that one a time or two, but that trade (and others in your top 10) symbolized what would soon be 13 consecutive, dismal, pathetic seasons (1983-1996) with a win/loss record of 64-159. Coincidentally, the best trade in our history initiated the turnaround (God bless Rich McKay & Co).

Its little surprise the Rays only had two top 10 best trades and littered up the worst 10. Trading away David Price, James Schields, Scott Kazmir, Jeremy Hellickson, Wil Myers, Ben Zobrist, etc, for the equivalence today of a Trump University diploma and some Cracker Jacks. You were SO RIGHT when you said the Rays often trade contracts not players. Now we add Even Longoria and others to this list and almost definite (sadly) similar outcome(s). Out of the three, the Rays have been and continue to be the most difficult area team for this Tampa native to support. If only Jeff Vinik could buy the Rays……


Gary Shelton March 1, 2018 at 7:28 am

You aren’t the only guy who hopes so.


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