Concluding our trade-deadline series, let's look today at notable players who have been dealt mid-season multiple times. It's interesting (to me, at least) to see why players fall into this pattern.
The adage, "Rent, don't buy" should have been invented for him. Granted, part of his reputation comes from the number of times he has been traded overall - the count now stands at six, including twice this week and once last year. And last year, the White Sox were supposed to be a mere way station, to use a term from "Heaven Can Wait," en route to the Nationals for Adam Dunn.
So what is it about this guy? He entered the big leagues as a heralded Dodgers prospect, and he had displayed inconsistent glimpses of that potential, thereby motivating clubs to enjoy brief flings with him rather than settling down for a long-term commitment.
The real intrigue will come this winter, when Jackson enters free agency for the first time. For how much no-trade protection will he ask?
2. KENNY LOFTON
The Wheel, as he liked to call himself, made our "Unlucky players" Friday Five back in May, and this is tangential to that one.
After serving as an iconic player for the Indians for the first part of the year, Lofton evolved into a hired gun, signing one-year contracts for the 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 seasons; only George Steinbrenner gave him multiple years, prior to the 2004 season, and fittingly, Lofton lasted just one season with the Yankees before getting dealt to Philadelphia.
One-year deals meant that, if his team was lousy, Lofton would get traded midseason. So he went from the White Sox to San Francisco in 2002, from Pittsburgh to the Cubs in 2003 and from Texas back to Cleveland in 2007.
His teams qualified for the postseason in each of those years, and Lofton performed respectably. But he always kept moving on, like David Banner at the end of each episode of "The Incredible Hulk."
He's at three so far - Detroit to Atlanta in 2005, the Yankees to Detroit in 2008 and Kansas City to Atlanta last year - and he might make it number four this year, as the Rays are open to dealing him.
This speaks more to just Farnsworth being a fungible reliever. it also reflects, not altogether differently from Jackson, how Farnsworth both captivates and frustrates teams. He pitched brilliantly for the '05 Braves in the regular season and then imploded during what turned out (thanks to him) to be their final game of the year, NL Division Series Game 4. And he was just plain awful for the '08 Tigers and '10 Braves.
We'll see if any team bites this time around.
4. CLIFF LEE
He was our number three July rental two weeks ago, and what's ironic is, he became available to the 2010 Rangers only because the previous team that rented him, the 2009 Phillies, inexplicably decided that they didn't want to keep Lee for the final year of his contract.
Yeah, we know that the Phillies traded Lee to Seattle in the 2009-10 offseason because they felt like they wouldn't be able to retain Lee long-term, and because they were getting Roy Halladay, and because they wanted to use Lee to replenish their farm system. It's ancient history now, and the Phillies righted their wrong by bringing Lee back last winter.
But it makes Lee the least logical member of this morning's list. He never should've been a frequent flyer.
Now the Yankees' first baseman, Teixeira had to pack up two straight summers because he was very good, because he found himself on bad teams and because Scott Boras represented him.
Boras clients almost always go into free agency as soon as they can, so when Teixeira turned down a big offer from Texas in July of 2007, the Rangers knew it was time to move on, and made a hugely successful deal (making our Friday Five "Traded prospects" list) to send him to Atlanta. Then the Braves, out of contention in 2008, shipped Teixeira to the Angels.
There was no personal animosity (well, maybe a little between Teixeira and Texas manager Ron Washington, but that's more of a sidebar). These were business-driven deals. And Teixeira now has full no-trade protection with the Yankees.
--Here's my Carlos Beltran story from last night.
--I'll check in later with more trade stuff.