Odds format
United States

2022 MLB Trade Deadline: Looking Back at the 10 Worst Trades in MLB History

Jason Radowitz takes a look back at the worst trades in MLB history. Here's the 10 worst trades in MLB history.
| 5 min read
Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Copy Link

2022 MLB Trade Deadline: Looking Back at the 10 Worst Trades in MLB History

The MLB is different than the NFL and NBA. When a player is drafted in the MLB, even at first overall, it'll still take a few years to see that player in the big leagues.

When MLB teams are making a push for a World Series run, they'll end up trading their best prospects for veterans and rentals to help their team win the World Series.

A lot of the time, prospects don't become what they're expected to be. But other times, a prospect will surprise and become a star.

So here are the top 10 worst trades in MLB history.

Error fetching data.

Looking for the best sportsbook offers? Check out the free bets page

Top 10 Worst Trades in MLB History

1. Max Scherzer traded to Detroit Tigers

Max Scherzer was traded to Detroit from the Arizona Diamondbacks at age 24. He had 30 starts for Arizona and finished with a 4.12 ERA. The Tigers saw potential in the right-hander and traded Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy to Arizona for Scherzer. Scherzer ended up being one of the most dominant pitchers in the MLB and went on to win multiple Cy Youngs.

2. Babe Ruth traded to the New York Yankees

Some people won't count this, but I will. Babe Ruth was traded for cash considerations. Ruth was one of the best players in MLB history and was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees. The rivalry is at a peak level between the Yankees and Red Sox and this only helps the Yankees' argument.

3. Randy Johnson traded to the Seattle Mariners

Randy Johnson's nickname was the "Big Unit" and he was literally that. Johnson was one of the best pitchers in baseball history, winning five Cy Youngs, a World Series MVP, and 10 all-star appearances. He was traded for Mark Langston and Mike Campbell. Who?

4. Sammy Sosa Traded to Chicago Cubs

The Texas Rangers gave up on Sammy Sosa, who became one of the most iconic sluggers of his era. He was traded for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique. Yes, Baines was a very solid hitter, but he only stayed with Texas for one year. The Rangers didn't even get much out of Baines and gave away Sammy Sosa.

5. Jeff Bagwell Traded to Houston Astros

The Red Sox were in win-now mode in 1990. So they traded with the Astros and gave up Jeff Bagwell for a relief pitcher in Larry Anderson. On top of that, the Red Sox didn't win the World Series and Bagwell became a star. That one is going to sting.

Error fetching data.

6. Mark McGwire traded to the St. Louis Cardinals

Mark McGwire was a slugger in the same era as Sammy Sosa. The Athletics were on a budget and McGwire was going to cost too much, so the Athletics traded away their best power slugger for three terrible pitchers. Good job, A's...

7. John Smoltz Traded to Atlanta Braves

The Tigers traded John Smoltz to the Tigers for Doyle Alexander in 1987. Alexander was 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA but when it came playoff time, he was absolutely dreadful. Alexander eventually retired in 1989 and Smoltz went on to have an incredible career with Atlanta.

8. Jason Varitek traded to Boston Red Sox

The Seattle Mariners got rid of Jason Varitek for a closer in Heathcliff Slocumb. In that season, the Mariners made the postseason with his help but after that season, he started to struggle and had just one other season in Seattle. And we know what Varitek did for the Red Sox.

9. Curt Schilling & Steve Finley were traded to the Houston Astros

The Orioles ended up trading away Curt Schilling and Steve Finley for Glenn Davis in 1991. Davis hit 24 home runs in three seasons with the Orioles and ended up being released after entering a bar right in 1993. Meanwhile, Schilling won multiple championships and became a very reliable pitcher while Finley ended a long and productive career. Not a good move for the O's.

10. Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano were traded to Minnesota Twins

In 2003, the Giants felt like they were a catcher away from competing in the World Series. So the Giants went out and traded for A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski played just one season with the Giants and San Francisco didn't even make the playoffs. Meanwhile, Nathan became one of the best closers in the game while Liriano became one of the best starters in the league for a couple of seasons. There's that.

Error fetching data.


Jason grew up an avid sports fan. His passion for sports writing grew in high school and he developed a blog that was strictly for New York Sports. From his work, you will quickly realize that he loves looking at games from an analytical and numbers perspective and hopes to provide you with that same perspective in his articles.


Almost there!

We are loading your bets, and they will be here in a second.