Red Sox historic trade: Pedro Martinez


The Red Sox have made some legendary trades that run the spectrum of historic failures such as Babe Ruth and a number of other stars of that great 1918 championship team that became the core of the New York Yankees, to a few that stand out. This is one of the full up in lights great trades in Red Sox history that happened on November 8th, 1997.

On that date, the Red Sox acquired Pedro Martinez from the Montreal Expos for Carl Pavano and the famed PTBNL. In this instance, the PTBNL was Tony Armas, Jr. to complete the deal.

The Expos were in a bind and Martinez would eventually be gone via free agency, so this deal certainly meets the qualifications of a fire sale considering Pedro was the reigning National League Cy Young Award recipient. Among the more interesting stats for Pedro’s 1997 season was a league leading 13 complete games. Pedro was just 26-year-old at the start of his Red Sox career in 1998.

The new economics of baseball place teams with limited financial resources into a fiscal bind. Players wait until they near the magical service time for the two areas that accelerate earnings – arbitration and free agency. Boston, as have their wealthy brethren, take full advantage of the situation by either offering promising prospects or simply waiting until the player hits the market.

Pavano was a highly regarded 21-year-old prospect in 1997 who was 11-6 with a 3.12 ERA at Pawtucket. A right-hander who was projected to be a future pitching star. However, that did not happen in Montreal. In five seasons Pavano finished at 24-35 and a very unimpressive 4.83 ERA before being shipped to the Florida Marlins.

There were two strokes of pitching fortune in Florida for Pavano. The first was being part of a World Series Championship team in 2003 and the other was having a career year in 2014 by going 18-8 and earning an All-Star berth while sliding into free agency.

A Connecticut native and Yankee fan, Pavano spurned a Boston offer and signed with the Yankees. This was one deal that the Red Sox managed to avoid that was a disaster. The performance and injury issues simply ruined Pavano’s New York stay. Other issues surfaced, but there is no need to go all Don Henley with “Dirty Laundry.”

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Pavano finished up with a trip to Cleveland and then to the Twins for a few decent seasons before packing it in with a 108-107 major League record.

Tony Armas senior once played for the Red Sox and even led the league in home runs (43) and RBI (123) in 1984 while playing an excellent center field for the Red Sox. Tony, Jr. actually ended up in Boston on one of the rarest of baseball transactions – a deal between the Yankees and Red Sox. Only 19-years-old at the time of his PTBNL designation, Armas surfaced in Montreal in 1999 and eventually finished a ten-year career with a 53-65 record.

For Martinez just what can you say? Everything that could be said was this past season with the culmination being placed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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The Red Sox will now look for deals that may be trading home runs for the team. They have a prospect gusher and expect Dave Dombrowski to move some talent. Some of that talent could be serviceable players such as Armas and Pavano or it could turn out to be Jeff Bagwell.

Source: Baseball-reference