For every Scottie Pippen for Olden Polynice or Derrek Lee for Hee-Seop Choi swap, seemingly there have been two really bad trades made by Chicago teams. Here are 10 of the worst.
10. Bears trade Chris Harris to Carolina for a fifth-round draft pick (2007) With the Bears having a surplus at safety after acquiring Adam Archuleta and having Mike Brown return to health, Harris was deemed expendable just a month before the start of the season. In his last two seasons, Harris has forced a league-high 10 fumbles, and has turned into a solid starter for one of the best secondaries in football. You think the Bears wouldn’t mind having Harris back, considering that Craig Steltz is penciled in right now as the starter at free safety?
9. Sox trade Keith Foulke, Mark Johnson and cash to Oakland for Billy Koch (2002) One of only three bad moves I can think of off the top of my head that Kenny Williams has made (the others being trading for Nick Swisher and Todd Ritchie). After saving 44 games the previous year with the A’s, Koch had only a combined 19 saves and a 5.61 ERA during his year and a half with the Sox. Foulke became one of the best closers in baseball for the next couple years, and led the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2004.
8. Bulls trade Ron Artest, Brad Miller and Ron Mercer to Indiana for Jalen Rose and Travis Best (2002) Before Artest became a psycho, not to mention close to a 20-point per game scorer and one of the best defenders in the NBA, he was showing signs of becoming a good player for the Bulls. Miller averaged a solid 14 points and eight rebounds in his seven seasons after leaving the Bulls. Rose did average over 22 points per game in his one full season in Chicago, but he shot only 39% from the field and the team took an ever bigger step backwards in its rebuilding plan.
7. Bears trade Thomas Jones to the Jets (2007) All the Bears got out of this deal was a swap of second round draft picks, which the Bears would go on to use to select Dan Bazuin. With Cedric Benson coming on at the end of the 2006 season, Jerry Angelo felt like the Bears had their running back of the future, and that the rift between Jones and Benson was hurting the team. Benson turned out to be a huge bust, and was gone after the next season. Jones made the Pro Bowl last season, finishing first in the AFC in rushing yards with over 1300.
6. Cubs trade Rafael Palmeiro and Jamie Moyer to Texas for Mitch Williams (1988) In Palmeiro’s last year with the Cubs, he hit .307, finishing second in the league in batting average. Some Chicago sports media people hinted at a relationship between Palmeiro and the wife of Ryne Sandberg when Palmeiro was with the Cubs. They credit these rumors as the reason that Palmeiro was traded. Moyer is still pitching today, and has won at least 13 games in all but one year dating back to 1996. The “Wild Thing” helped the Cubs win their division in 1989, but was gone after one more season.
5. Bears trade first-round pick (#11 overall) to Seattle for Rick Mirer (1997) The former number two overall draft pick from Notre Dame was thought to be the Bears long-term answer at the quarterback position. Instead, Mirer played sparingly, throwing for a total of 420 yards, 0 TD and 6 INT, and was gone after only one season. Without their first-round pick, the Bears used their second-round pick on USC tight end John Allred. Tony Gonzalez, one of the best tight ends in league history, was selected number 13 overall by Kansas City in that same draft.
4. Blackhawks trade Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield to the Bruins for Pit Martin and Jack Norris (1967) The Blackhawks provided Boston with the ammunition to become a superpower for years to come, and got very little in return. Esposito blossomed into the greatest scorer of his day, winning two MVP awards, making six consecutive all-star teams and leading the Bruins to a pair of Stanley Cups. This trade changed the balance of power in the NHL at the time, and it took the Hawks quite a while to recover from this colossal mistake.
3. Bulls trade Elton Brand to the Clippers for Tyson Chandler (2001) When you have a guy who averages 20 points and 10 rebounds his first two years in the league, you don’t trade him for a 7-footer straight out of high school, no matter how much “potential” you think he might have. Chandler, who reportedly got smoked in several one-on-one scrimmages against fellow high schooler and number one pick Kwame Brown in the weeks leading up to the draft, failed to average double figure points or rebounds in any of his five seasons with the Bulls. David Falk, the agent for Brand, said it perfectly: “Anybody who says Jerry Krause can’t build a team, I take issue with. He’s done an unbelievable job building the Clippers.”
2. Sox trade Sammy Sosa and Ken Patterson to the Cubs for George Bell (only if you’re a Sox fan of course) 1992 Sosa was perceived as an immature, free-swinging, undeveloped player when the Sox gave up on him after he hit only a combined .218 his two seasons on the South Side. We all know what Sosa did as a Cub, becoming the first player to hit 60 home runs in three different seasons. No slugger ever has hit as many homers in a five-year period as Sosa did in the run that began with his magical duel with Mark McGwire in 1998. Bell had one decent year with the Sox before being released the very next season and then announcing his retirement. At the time of the trade, Bell said he was insulted at being traded for a player as unproven as Sosa.
1. Cubs trade Lou Brock to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio (1964) Brock was a young outfielder who hit just .260 his first two years with the Cubs. Broglio had won 70 games over the previous five seasons with St. Louis, but went just 7-19 in two-plus seasons with the Cubs. Meanwhile, Brock would go on to lead the NL in stolen bases eight times and bat over .300 nine times, before being elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985. When this trade went down, just about everybody who followed baseball felt that it was Cardinals officials who were delusional. This was the opening sentence in the Chicago Daily News the day after the trade: “Thank you, thank you, oh, you lovely St. Louis Cardinals. Nice doing business with you. Please call again any time."