In what hopes to be a series documenting Padr-oh, fuck it…Kevin Towers trade deadline failures, I bring you the story of the 2004 trading deadline. Earlier today, Avenging Jack Murphy brought you the tale of the 2005 non-waiver trading deadline blockbuster which brought Joe Randa to the Padres, created a legend. To me, however, the bellwether of awful deadline deals is that which brought brought about Dave Hansen‘s second stint with the San Diego Padres.
It’s 2004, Petco Park’s inaugural season. Fan expectations are heightened, the Padres are in the thick of the race, then-president Dick Freeman says in a Channel 4 Padres interview that the Padres have the funds to compete with anyone in the division at the trading deadline. The Padres were actually linked to Carlos Beltran in trade rumors! Where Beltran may have been an impossible dream, the likes of Steve Finley, Freddy Garcia, and Kris Benson were all players who desperately could have helped bolster a Padres team who, ultimately, finished 87-75 and 6 games behind eventual division champion Los Angeles Dodgers (who were aided by the aforementioned Steve Finley). Instead, Towers brought in two Seattle Mariners (in separate trades) to help bolster a pretty sad bench; Rich Aurilia and Deadline Day Eve acquisition Dave Hansen. Aurilia, the aging former star, eventually became the starter at 3B when Sean Burroughs went down with a season-ending knee injury. Aurilia wasn’t great, but he wasn’t total garbage; a .715 OPS/93 OPS+/0.1 fWAR player.
Before bringing in Hansen, Towers signed the just-released Darren Bragg in an attempt to shore up the bench. Didn’t work, with Bragg hitting .143 with a 36 OPS+, and a completely even 0.0 fWAR. He was released two weeks later, and Project Gunslinger* went into motion. Fans thought big, as 3B, CF, and SP were definite upgrade candidates. Instead, on July 30th 2004, Kevin Towers sent Justin Huber to the Seattle Mariners for Dave Hansen. And that’s all you got.
Dave Hansen went on to hit .143, post a 3 (yes, 3) OPS+, and was a -0.3 fWAR player. In other words, we replaced a waste of space with a waste of space, and we learned to severely temper our expectations in our brand new ballpark.
The Vocal Minority posts on Mondays, or when the opportunity to bitch about Dave Hansen arises. Who’s your favorite deadline dud? Tell us in the comments, or let me know on Twitter!