Best gift each MLB team has ever received

MLB.com

With the holiday season in full swing, it's the perfect time to recognize the best gift every Major League club has ever received.

And while the old adage says it's better to give than to receive, there's no question that each team and its respective fanbase was grateful to be on the receiving end in the following instances. From landing star players to benefiting from controversial calls to front offices making the right decisions, here's a list of each team's best gift throughout MLB history:

AL EAST

Blue Jays: The José Bautista trade of 2008
Back in 2008, Bautista was a fringe player with the Pirates, his fourth MLB organization. The Blue Jays swung a minor trade with the Bucs, sending them catcher Robinzon Díaz, the type of trade that’s typically forgotten a year later. Instead, Bautista went on to become one of the greatest Blue Jays of all time, beginning with his historic 2010 season. That year, Bautista set a club record with 54 home runs, and by the time the postseason runs of '15 and ‘16 rolled around, the slugger was still the heart and soul of the team. There may never be a better trade for the Blue Jays, but every time a Major League club rolls the dice on upside, it's dreaming of finding the next Bautista. — Keegan Matheson

Orioles: Frank Robinson falls into their laps
Sometimes, one trade can alter the course of an entire franchise’s history. The Orioles were growing into contenders when they acquired Frank Robinson from the Reds at the 1965 Winter Meetings in exchange for Milt Pappas, Dick Simpson and Jack Baldschun in what is now considered one of the most lopsided deals in Major League history. Robinson was already an MVP and a perennial All-Star at the time, but he bristled at Cincinnati ownership’s perception of him as a player in decline. He arrived in Baltimore at age 30 and he immediately proved that wasn’t the case. Robinson won the AL hitting Triple Crown and led the O’s to their first World Series title in '66, earning MVP honors in both the regular season and the Fall Classic. He’d anchor the O’s lineup for the next five seasons, during which Baltimore reached three more World Series and won another title. Decades later, Robinson’s impact on the franchise and city remains undeniable. Both were fortunate the Reds misjudged him when they did. — Joe Trezza

Rays: The Delmon Young trade tree
Four years after selecting Delmon Young with the first overall pick in the 2003 MLB Draft, the Rays sent him (along with Brendan Harris and Jason Pridle) to the Twins for a return headlined by starter Matt Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett. Garza and Bartlett played key roles in the Rays’ worst-to-first turnaround in 2008, helping Tampa Bay reach the World Series for the first time in franchise history, as well as for their 2010 AL East championship club. It was arguably the biggest trade in franchise history on its own merits, but it didn’t stop there. The Rays went on to deal Bartlett to the Padres in December 2010 for Brandon Gomes, Cesar Ramos, Cole Figueroa and Adam Russell, then they sent Garza to the Cubs in January 2011 for Chris Archer, Robinson Chirinos, Sam Fuld, Brandon Guyer and Hak-ju Lee. In July 2018, the Rays flipped Archer to the Pirates for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. The trade tree has netted the Rays about 52 Wins Above Replacement over the last 14 years, a total that will only grow with time. For Tampa Bay, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. — Adam Berry

Red Sox: The Twins releasing David Ortiz
When the Twins released Ortiz on Dec. 16, 2002, nobody could have guessed such a non-descript transaction would change the course of Red Sox history. Boston took a chance on Ortiz with an initial deal that was worth $1.25 million over one season. Ortiz wore the Red Sox uniform for the final 14 seasons of his career, leading the franchise to its first three World Series championships since 1918. Ortiz helped change the culture of the Red Sox and the Boston sports scene with his booming bat and gregarious personality. The perfect nickname of Big Papi was bestowed on him from the late, great Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy on a broadcast in 2004. Only Ted Williams hit more homers for Boston than Ortiz. In all, Ortiz smoked 541 homers over 20 MLB seasons to go with 632 doubles and a .931 OPS. Not bad for someone who was an injury-prone platoon player in Minnesota. — Ian Browne

Yankees: Babe Ruth purchased from the Red Sox
Ruth’s exploits on the mound and at the plate had already helped produce three Red Sox championships when owner Harry Frazee sold Ruth to the Yankees on Jan. 3, 1920, for $125,000, plus a $300,000 loan (contrary to popular belief, Frazee did not use the proceeds to finance the show "No, No Nanette," which did not reach Broadway until 1925). Ruth propelled the Yankees from an also-ran into a juggernaut, leading the franchise to seven pennants and four championships. Attendance swelled as Ruth’s exploits led the club from the Polo Grounds into a palatial new home across the Harlem River in 1923; Ruth belted a remarkable 60 home runs in 1927, a single-season mark that stood for more than three decades. Saddled with the “Curse of the Bambino,” the Red Sox didn't win another title until 2004. — Bryan Hoch

#baseball, #professional

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