From December 6-9, baseball's offseason will kick into high gear as team officials, agents, players and media descend upon Orlando, Fla. This week, MLB Facts and Rumors will preview an aspect of the Winter Meetings each day. Today: Big news from past meetings.
Baseball teams have been holding winter meetings since the 19th century, and even back then big news broke. In the first offseason meetings of the National League in 1876, the New York Mutuals and Philadelphia Athletics were kicked out of the league for running out of money and skipping late-season road trips.
These days, the Winter Meetings are all about wheeling and dealing. It’s the one time of year when all the owners, general managers and agents are in one place, and all the exploratory phone calls turn into full-fledged bargaining and bidding wars.
Today we look at five of the top trades, signings and acquisitions in recent Winter Meetings history.
1984: RICKEY TO THE BRONX
The Athletics send future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson to the Yankees in a massive seven-player deal: Henderson, Bert Bradley and cash to the Bronx for Stan Javier, Eric Plunk, Jose Rijo, Jay Howell and Tim Birtsas. Henderson wound up playing so long, in so many places, that the idea of him changing teams doesn’t sound like a big deal now. But at the time, he was a 26-year-old superstar who in his first five full seasons had led the league in stolen bases every year with an astonishing average of 92 per season, batted .294, was a four-time All-Star and was a Gold Glove outfielder.
1990: JAYS-PADRES BLOCKBUSTER
The Blue Jays make a trade that helps lay the foundation for back-to-back titles in 1992 and 1993, acquiring Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar from the Padres for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff. In retrospect, this was one of the bigger trades in baseball history – all four were All-Stars who ended up with a combined 27 appearances, and three of them (sorry, Tony) have a shot at landing in the Hall of Fame.
2000: A QUARTER OF A BILLION
The Rangers shock the world by giving a staggering 10-year, $252 million contract to former Mariners shortstop Alex Rodriguez. Even after 10 years of rapidly escalating contracts, no other player has come close to that total number or even eclipsed the single-season average salary. It was an industry-changing contract.
2006: AN MVP FOR $50,000
The Cubs snag troubled former No. 1 pick Josh Hamilton, who has fallen so far he's not even worth a spot on the Rays’ 40-man roster, for just $50,000 in the Rule 5 draft. The Cubs immediately flip Hamilton to the Reds for a $50,000 profit – think they’d give $50,000 to get him back now? The Reds weren’t the beneficiaries of Hamilton’s MVP comeback, but they did turn him into Edinson Volquez and Danny Herrera a year later in a trade with the Rangers.
2007: DETROIT THINKS BIG
There was word the Marlins might be looking to deal stars Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, but nobody anticipated them both going to the same team in a single deal. The Tigers sent six players – Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio de la Cruz and Mike Rabelo – to Miami, and amazingly, none of them really panned out. For that matter, neither did Willis. But Cabrera was a big score for Detroit.
-- David AndriesenFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.