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Looking Back at a Strange Trade


On this date 16 years ago the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics engaged in a trade. I don't know why for so long this trade has always stood out to me but it for whatever reason has and when I looked to see if September 25th would fall on a Sunday, upon my finding out it did I was absolutely going to write about it.

On September 25th, 1995 the Oakland A's sent LHP Rick Honeycutt to the New York Yankees in exchange for an undisclosed amount of cash. The Yankees were 74-65 and a half game ahead of the California Angels looking to clinch the first ever wild card spot in the American League. Their lefty-specialist for most of the season was Steve Howe and on the 24th in a game at Yankee Stadium against the Tigers, and had just allowed three hits (including two home runs to Tony Clark and Danny Bautista) to the three hitters he faced in the eighth inning. The Yankees being the Yankees needed an upgrade and sought out Rick Honeycutt. 

I don't know what particular series of events led this to be so firmly implanted in my mind, but the Yankees who were desperate to reenter the playoffs after a fourteen year absence (in reality they likely would've made the playoffs in 1994 however) wanted to make sure with six games left they didn't leave anything to chance. Honeycutt had a great year (using 1995 metrics) for the somewhat abysmal A's (they'd finish 67-77 in the shortened season) going 5-1 in his 49 relief appearances with a 2.42 ERA. Using today's metrics we see an FIP of 4.29 and note his piddling 4.2 K/9 that all amassed to a 0.3 WAR year in the Green and Gold but back then 5-1 with a 2.42 ERA? Can't go wrong there so Yanks GM Gene Michael snatched him up.

The Yankees made the most of him, using him in half their remaining games (he would be ineligible for the playoffs where against a lefty-laden Mariners lineup he may very well have come in handy) with those three appearances totaling one lone inning during which he allowed one walk, and one home run to have a 27.00 ERA and equally unfavorable 19.10 ERA and did enough damage to nearly erase all his work in Oakland earning -0.2 WAR. The Yankees would win the wild card in spite of Rick Honeycutt and I'd like to think the A's used that money at the blackjack table in Las Vegas the next spring when they opened their season in Las Vegas. If they did, it'd appear as if they lost...