There is a very good chance Justin Verlander gets traded before the 6 PM trade deadline today. If that happens, he would have spent just a few months with the Mets totaling 16 starts. It'll end up being this weird footnote in a first ballot Hall of Fame career. People will talk about the time Verlander and Max Scherzer were teammates with the Mets and how it was a failure.
There's been a few instances where an all-time great player has spent less than a full season with a team. Am I doing this blog because I think it's funny to see MLB icons in weird uniforms? Obviously. Twenty years from now, some other elderly weirdo working at Barstool will do the same list and have Verlander on it. In the very least, this blog can help with future Immaculate Grids.
2009: John Smoltz, Boston Red Sox (2-5, 8.33 in 8 starts)
Smoltz was coming off a shoulder injury but he should have just retired after that season. He would have been the only pitcher out of himself, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux to spend his whole career with the Braves. Instead, he went to the Red Sox and was horrible. The Red Sox released him in mid-August and he signed with the Cardinals. He wasn't bad with St. Louis (4.26 ERA in 7 starts) and even made a relief appearance in the playoffs with them. That would be the end of his major league career.
2009: Jim Thome, Los Angeles Dodgers (4 for 17 in 17 games)
Thome was dealing with a foot injury at the time so he was only used a pinch hitter. He wound up hitting four singles. He did play in the playoffs and wound up going 1 for 3 with a single. This wasn't the end of his career though. He still played three more seasons and even hit 25 home runs the next year for the Twins. However, he only played five more games in the field in those three seasons. Maybe going to the Dodgers before they could use a DH wasn't the best spot for him when he was 38 and broken down.
2004: Roberto Alomar, Arizona Diamondbacks (.309/.382/.473 in 38 games)
The 2004 Diamondbacks were one of the worst teams in the 21st century. They managed to go 51-111 with two Hall of Famers in Randy Johnson and Alomar. Randy was still pretty good at 40. Alomar still could hit a little but his range was gone by this point and he was traded to the White Sox late in the season. It would be the end of his career. It's wild how quickly Alomar stopped being a good player. It happened overnight when he got traded to the Mets before the 2002 season when he was 34. He'd be out of baseball before he was 37.
1998: Mike Piazza, Florida Marlins (5 for 18 in 5 games)
Piazza was traded by the Dodgers to the Marlins in what was a wild salary dump by Florida where Bobby Bonilla, Charles Johnson and Gary Sheffield all went to LA. Todd Zeile and Piazza ended up in Miami and in less than a week, he wound up going to the Mets. The Marlins stint is so weird. He did hit one his eight career triples with the Marlins. He also never struck out with them either. It's still funny to see the Marlins on his HOF plaque.
1997: Rickey Henderson, Anaheim Angels (.183/.343/.261 with 16 steals in 32 games)
The Angels were making a playoff push in 1997 and made this trade back when guys who cleared waivers could be traded for each other after the trade deadline. Henderson did win both of his World Series (1989 A's and 1993 Blue Jays) traded mid-season but would not be as lucky here. The Angels only ended up going 84-78 and missing the playoffs. Rickey wound up going back to Oakland in 1998 and led the AL in stolen bases and walks as a 39 year old.
Hopefully we see some more legends get dealt today. Please check out Barstool Baseball at 4 PM today as Carl, Castellani, Hubbs and myself will be live-streaming the trading deadline until 6:30. If you love baseball, this is absolutely a top 5 day of the year.