Sunday, December 16, 2012

On this day in Reds history: Deals that didn't pan out


December 16th hasn't been a real good day in a historical sense for the Redlegs. They have made several notable transactions on this day, most of which didn't pan out they way I'm sure they had hoped. Here's a brief synopsis of each of those aforementioned deals:

December 16, 1976 - The Reds trade Tony Perez and Will McEnaney to the Expos for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray.

Reds fans still haven't forgotten this deal. The 34-year old Perez, the future Hall of Famer and unsung hero of the Big Red Machine, was traded to make room on for 25-year old Dan Driessen. Although Driessen nearly matched Tony's offensive stats in the period between 1977 and 1983, the leadership of Perez was sorely missed. Soft-spoken, unpretentious and always smiling, Perez was the voice of reason in the Reds clubhouse, frequently diffusing the tense situations that developed on a highly competitive ball club full of ego-driven stars. To make matters worse, the Reds received next to nothing from Montreal in return as Fryman and Murray were both gone from the Reds by the middle of the 1978 season.

December 16, 1982 - The Reds swap Tom Seaver to the Mets for Charlie Puleo, Lloyd McClendon, and Jason Felice.

At age 37, and after posting a 5-13 record and 5.50 ERA in '82, Cincinnati believed Seaver's days as a professional baseball player were numbered. However, they turned out to be wrong as Seaver went on to play four more seasons in the bigs while racking up 47 more victories.

Puleo went 7-14 with a 5.00 ERA in two seasons with the Reds before moving on to Atlanta.

McClendon didn't make his debut in the Major Leagues with the Reds until 1987. He appeared in 117 games with the club over the next two seasons and posted a .215 average, 5 HR, and 27 RBI. He was traded to the Cubs in the offseason of '88.

Felice played just one season in the Reds organization as a member of Single-A affiliate Tampa. He would end up back in the Mets organization by 1984.

December 16, 1996 - Kevin Mitchell signs a free agent contract to play for the Indians after having played parts of the 1994-96 seasons in Cincinnati. Mitchell played full seasons with the Reds in 1994-95 before signing as a free agent with the Red Sox prior to 1996. The Reds re-acquired him right before the trade deadline in July from Boston.

In 225 games, Mitchell batted .332/.414/.631 with 55 HR, 167 RBI, and 131 RS during his 3-year reign in the Queen City.

He played in two more seasons in the Majors until he was out of the league altogether in 1999 at age 37. Things may have turned out different for him had he been able to come back to Cincinnati. We can only speculate.

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