In the 6th round of the 2007 MLB Draft, the Boston Red Sox selected first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Little did they know that he would become a superstar that would alter the future of seven major league franchises. Here is how a single prospect (Rizzo) changed everything for these teams.
Boston Red Sox (Part 1)- As Rizzo rose through the ranks of Boston’s farm system they knew they had something special on their hands. He had become a blue chip prospect, after miraculously beating cancer, and recognizing his value across the league, the Sox traded him to the San Diego Padres for All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez. With the addition of Gonzalez, Boston put all their chips on the table by going out and signing outfielder Carl Crawford. The experiment exploded in Boston’s face. The chemistry in the clubhouse was rotten and it looked like the Red Sox had hit an all time low. Eventually they dumped Crawford, Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto for a few prospects. The trade wasn’t for the prospects it was for the salary dump. The Red Sox then put that money to use by trying to instill a happy culture in the dugout. They went and signed great veteran guys like Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, David Ross, Ryan Dempster, and Stephen Drew. These signings eventually pushed the 2013 Boston Red Sox to a World Series championship.
San Diego Padres- Once the Padres got Rizzo, he played 49 major league games hitting .141 with 1 home run. Rizzo still held value across the league and looking for an upgrade in their rotation, San Diego traded Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs for Andrew Cashner. Cashner had nasty stuff and rolled through his minor league career with a 2.85 ERA. The Padres trusting in Cashner and the rest of their young rotation went and tried upgrading their offense trading for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, and Wil Myers. They also added proven work horse James Shields through free agency and closing ace Craig Kimbrel. Needless to say, none of that worked. The rotation couldn’t stay healthy and you could start to see Shields decline. Myers was hurt, Kemp wasn’t the same, Upton didn’t produce, and Middlebrooks never lived up to his potential. This failed plan led them to getting rid of everyone except Myers. The full rebuild of the Padres forced them to trade multiple pieces last summer including Kemp to the Atlanta Braves and pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Red sox. Who knows what would’ve happened if SD kept Rizzo. Maybe they’d be in a similar position as the next team that Rizzo really turned around.
Chicago Cubs- On the good ol’ Cubbies Rizzo became the superstar he is today. 3 Silver Sluggers, 3 All-Star teams, a Gold Glove, and 3 top 10 MVP finishes. Rizzo rise to stardom took the Cubs to places they hadn’t seen in a while (108 years to be exact). The World Series Championship that Rizzo helped bring to Chicago wasn’t done alone. The Cubs had MVP Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Wilson Contreras, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, and many more. One of the many more includes Aroldis Chapman. The Cubs got Chapman from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline for a few top prospect that is really going to change the Yanks in the next few years.
New York Yankees- The trading of Aroldis Chapman put the Yankees in full rebuild mode for the first time in a while but Brian Cashman KILLED the trade deadline. The Bronx Bombers got the number 3, 23, and 76 overall prospects in baseball according to MLB.com, adding to already their 4 prospects in the top 100. They did give up Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, and Chapman but New York wasn’t going anywhere with them. The Yankees are now set up great for the future with Clint Frazier, Aaron Judge, Justus Sheffield, Gleyber Torres, Jorge Matteo, and many more gearing up for future title runs.
Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers were in financial ruins under the ownership of Frank McCourt. Once Magic Jonhson’s group bought the Dodgers from McCourt, they were in it to win it. By getting Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett the Dodgers were trying to push themselves over the hump and to the World Series. They already had a nice core of Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke, Andre Eithier, a young Matt Kemp, and Hanley Ramirez. The trade for Gonzalez really put the Dodgers in a win while we can position. Gonzalez stays a major contributor to the lineup but they absorbed so much salary from the Red Sox. The Dodgers haven’t won much but Rizzo’s trade to the Padres started a domino effect that has placed the Dodgers in a position to contend for 5 years+.
Boston Red Sox (Part 2)- The Red Sox won the division in 2016 but they weren’t very pleased with what they got out of trade deadline acquisition of Padres pitcher Drew Pomeranz. Remember, the only reason the Padres were willing to give up Pomeranz was the fact that they had to rebuild after trading Rizzo. Anyways, trying to capitalize on the talent they have now the Red Sox went out and got the man, the myth, the legend Chris Sale who just started his first game as a Red Sock yesterday in a 3-0 win.
Chicago White Sox- Trading Rizzo led to a Padres rebuild led to the Red Sox getting Pomeranz led the Red sox being pissed about Drew’s production led to the Red Sox trading for Chris Sale. The White Sox got infielder Yoan Moncada and hard thrower Michael Kopech among others for Sale. Sale makes the Red Sox the favorite to win the American League and the trade dropped a bomb on the White Sox’s clubhouse. There is now a yard sale at Guaranteed Rate Field, with players going to the highest bidder. After Sale the next guy to go was Adam Eaton who was traded to…
Washington Nationals- The Nationals gave us Reynaldo Lopez, Lucas Giolito, and Dane Dunning adding on to Moncada and Kopech giving the White Sox maybe the best damn farm system and baseball. Other than Eaton, the Nationals are related to the original Rizzo trade because of the Padres 2015 offseason. In the Wil Myers deal that sent him from the Rays to the Padres, the Nats somehow ended up with shortstop Trea Turner and pitcher Joe Ross. This one is definitely going to bite the Padres right in the tuchas. Once Bryce Harper leaves in free agency (no way he doesn’t end up a Yankee) Turner will become the next face of the Washington Nationals.
You can go on and on and probably end up talking about how Rizzo affected every single MLB team. The Braves trading Craig Kimbrel and eventually getting Matt Kemp is some how a part of their rebuild. They then traded Shelby Miller to the Diamondbacks during the rebuild for Dansby Swanson. Andrew Miller being a part of the Yankees fire sale helped the Indians get the 7th game of the 2016 World Series and so on and so on. It is just crazy to think about how one single guy can change Major League Baseball forever. Rizzo getting traded directly and indirectly caused two World Series championships, four teams to rebuild, and five teams to go all in and try and win. It just goes to show that every single trade means something. Every little free agency means something. Fro scraping David Ortiz off the scrap heap to trading little known prospect Jeff Bagwell to the Astros for a middle reliever. No one ever knows what is going to happen or who is going to make it happen and that is what makes baseball, baseball.