1. August 28, 1983
The Atlanta Braves traded players to be named later and $150,000 to the Cleveland Indians. Received Len Barker. The Atlanta Braves sent Rick Behenna (September 2, 1983), Brett Butler (October 21, 1983), and Brook Jacoby (October 21, 1983) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.
What we got:
Len Barker reached the pinnacle of his career when he threw a perfect game on May 15, 1981 and was an All-Star that summer. The perfect game followed a 19 win season in 1980, and the year after appearing in the mid-summer classic, he won 15 games.
Barker, at the time we acquired him, had been struggling mightily. He had an 8-13 record with a 5.11 ERA before coming over.
We shouldn't have been surprised with what we received -- Barker stacked up a 10-20 record from 1983-1985 and never pitched a full season.
In the Braves' defense, they aimed to acquire a pitcher approaching his prime (26 years old) and based off prior performance, it looked like it could have been pretty good.
What we gave up:
The first piece listed in the trade here was Rick Behenna, who was a prospect at the time, but wasn't a loss in the end for the Atlanta Braves.
Behenna righty appeared in 26 games, starting 17 of them and posted a 6.12 ERA in three cups of coffee in the big leagues.
He became a high school pitching school afterwards. Unfortunately, Behenna passed away from cancer in 2012.
That's what the Atlanta Braves traded away when they included Brett Butler in this deal.
Butler was a mega prospect before the internet age. He had an excellent bat, the ability to hit .300+, and had amazing speed.
The centerfield extraordinaire racked up 2,375 hits in his career, stole 558 bases, and hit .290. Imagine that next to Dale Murphy.
His best season came in 1990 for the San Francisco Giants where he collected 192 hits and hit .309. He led the league in triples on four different occasions.
Butler received votes for the Most Valuable Player award six times, but oddly, only had one All-Star appearance in 1991.
So yeah, the Atlanta Braves blew it. And we're not even done with the trade yet!
Brook Jacoby was not just a power prospect, but a complete hitting prospect. He drove in 100 runs not once, but twice while in the minors for the Atlanta Braves, and hit 86 home runs over four full seasons in the minors, batting .299.
So, for the sake of comparison, a better version of Austin Riley in the minors. That's an average season of .299, 22 HR, and 87 RBI across all levels.
Jacoby didn't set the world on fire in the majors, but he was Cleveland's starting third baseman from 1984-1990, made two All-Star teams (1986, 1990), and socked 32 home runs in 1987.
He finished his career with 120 home runs.
On top of that, they also gave Cleveland $150,000. Which, according to this inflation calculator, is the equivalent of $400,000 today.
Imagine the panic from our fan base if we traded Pache and Riley for a starting pitcher that wasn't a top 10 starter. Then, imagine the bitterness if that starting pitcher won 10 games over the next 2.5 seasons. Yeah. It was like that.
Here's to hoping the Atlanta Braves don't pull a move like any of these this month.