The Worst Trade I Ever Made: Trout for Dahl, Moncada, Rodgers and Pomeranz
It was the 2015 trade deadline. My team in an 18-player, deep roster (5 OF, 1 MI) dynasty league was pure stars and scrubs. And when I mean stars and scrubs, I mean that my team consisted of Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Buster Posey, Chris Archer, and a big pile of crap. Despite holding the best outfielder, best catcher, and one of the better first basemen in a very deep league, my team was barely cracking .500. I decided to do a hard rebuild.
I got great returns for Joey Votto and Buster Posey. Gary Sanchez, Kyle Seager and a bunch of high draft picks (I picked AJ Puk, Zack Collins, Jason Groome, Matt Thaiss, and Cal Quantrill with them), and a few smaller pieces. In hindsight, I didn’t make the best picks, but at the time I considered it an elite haul. Getting Gary Sanchez was worth it.
However, I looked at my team and realized that I still didn’t have enough to contend any time soon, so I decided it was time to see if I could get any Mike Trout offers. I put him on the block, and immediately got the following offer: David Dahl, Yoan Moncada, Brendan Rodgers, and Drew Pomeranz.
It was an exciting offer. Brendan Rodgers and David Dahl offered tantalizing Coors Field value. Yoan Moncada was in the middle of his first season in the minor leagues, looking like the next Alfonso Soriano. Drew Pomeranz was a solid pitcher for Oakland. In the best case scenario, I would have two or three first-round level players by 2017. Even if they didn’t all reach their ceiling, there was a good chance that I could find four starting players out of the deal, which is important in a league where almost no useful middle infielders or outfielders are available on waivers. I accepted.
Almost three years later, I clearly made a huge mistake. Moncada and Dahl are in the majors and look promising, but they are far from future first-round dynasty picks in their current form. Pomeranz has been a solid starting pitcher. Brendan Rodgers has been injury prone, and only above-average when on the field. No one straight-up busted, but I still lost the trade. Mike Trout started stealing bases again, hit for even more power, and has led the league in OBP since I pulled the trigger.
I’ve learned a few lessons from the incident:
- Never trade Mike Trout.
- When trading elite talent, insist on elite talent in return. I thought that Dahl, Rodgers and Moncada were elite talent, worthy of a fair trade for Mike Trout. I was wrong. All three were top-10 fantasy prospects at the time, so it made sense to feel like they were elite. However, none would have cracked the third round of a new dynasty draft that year, while Mike Trout would have gone first 100% of the time. I should have insisted on elite major league talent in return for the best player in baseball. You want Mike Trout? Fine, I need two high-second round level picks.
- Don’t try and fix your team with one trade. This was my biggest mistake. I saw way too many holes on my team to fill, and figured that trading Mike Trout was the way to fill all of them. Of course, that wasn’t ever going to work out. By looking for quantity, I sacrificed quality. More importantly, I was eager to do it. I thought that this was my big move, which was very dumb.
How is my team doing now? Not great, Bob. Gary Sanchez turned into a monster, and I’ve managed to do some good waiver wire rebuilding (Tommy Pham, Jed Lowrie, Aaron Hicks, Tyson Ross), but the farm system has mostly been a dud. I’m hoping that guys like Rodgers, Franklin Barreto, Mitch Keller, and Greg Bird become all-stars, but three years after the trade, my team is solid below .500.
If you hold Mike Trout, congratulations! Don’t screw it up, like I did.
[Ed Note- If you or someone you love has traded Mike Trout, they don’t have to suffer in silence. Please, let us know what the trade was in the comments below.]