Wednesday, December 26, 2012

This day in Reds history: David Wells is traded to Baltimore

December 26, 1995 - The Reds deal southpaw David "Boomer" Wells to Baltimore less than five months after acquiring him at the trade deadline from Detroit. Cincinnati receives outfielder Curtis Goodwin and prospect Trovin Valdez in return. Needless to say, the Reds end up getting stuck with the short end of the stick.

Goodwin plays just two seasons with the Reds and never amounts to anything more than a part-time player. Valdez never makes it to the majors at all. Wells, however, goes on to win 160 more games after posting a 6-5 record and 3.59 ERA in his short stint in Cincinnati.

Wells helped the Reds capture the National League Central Division title and a berth in the NLCS after sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. The veteran pitcher had gained a solid track record of success before arriving in the Queen City. He broke into the majors in 1987 with the Toronto Blue Jays and later signed as a free agent with the Tigers. Cincinnati acquired him with the knowledge that he would probably be more of a rental player. He played out the last half of the season and the playoffs with the Reds before moving on to Baltimore for just one season.

Although the California native was 32-years old at the time of the trade, he was just entering the prime of his career. He would go on to win 15 games or more in a season seven different times before his playing days were over. He was a 3-time All-Star, 2-time World Series champion, and finished as high as third in the Cy Young Award voting on two separate occasions. All in all, he racked up a 239-157 record with a 4.13 ERA and 3.06 K/BB ratio over his 21-year career. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was pitching the 15th perfect game in MLB history on May 17, 1998 against the Minnesota Twins.

Reds fans are only left to wonder how many games he could have helped Cincinnati win if he had stayed with the team.

Wells is appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year. The results will be revealed on January 9.

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