Davey Johnson Was Still Managing
Neither player involved in the deal will become household names, but they find themselves in rare company with the legendary Babe Ruth. Last week, pitchers Adam Ottavino and Frank German were traded from New York to Boston for cash or player to be named later.
According to writer Timothy Rapp in a 1/25/21 piece on Bleacherreport.com, it marks the first trade between the two rivals since 2014. That deal, nearly as insignificant as the one just completed, involved Stephen Drew coming to the Yankees in exchange for Kelly Johnson.
New York had been hoping that Drew would provide a veteran presence in the lineup, someone who would help lead them through the postseason. The Yanks were in first place at the time of the deal while the Red Sox, who were coming off a World Series Championship, were dead last.
Drew could not bolster New York to a pennant, nor even to the playoffs. The Bronx Bombers finished in second place, while Boston remained stuck in the cellar.
Both teams finished in those exact same spots last season, so I guess they felt the time was again right to make a deal with each other. Even though the standings might look the same as they did in 2014, those seven years in between seem like ages in some regards.
To underscore just how long ago it really was, just check in the dugouts. Both Jim Leyland and Davey Johnson, veteran skippers who had won the World Series and multiple pennants, were still managing, Unfortunately, each one would be fired by the time the Yankees and Red Sox completed their deadline trade.
All-star veteran catcher Tony Pena, who had been around so long that he had played in Pittsburgh's last playoff game, was still active in 2014. Ditto for former Most Valuable Player Jason Giambi, who like Pena would call it quits that year.
Also retiring was Fernando Tatis, whose son would take the league by storm before the Yankees and Red Sox made their next deal. Two names even bigger than that of Tatis, Jr. were still on the diamond in 2014, and one of those names is in the Hall of Fame.
Tony Gwynn, the namesake of his perennial batting champ father, was playing for the Phillies that season. Bill Buckner, a name associated with another perennial candidate for batting titles, was part of the Padres bullpen.
The only Central Division teams to not make the playoffs last year all three made it in 2014, the Tigers, the Royals and the Pirates. Kansas City, who barely got in as a wild card, went on to win the pennant.
Looking back at that 2014 season in other ways seems like gazing at just a few months ago, considering some of the other prominent names. Nelson Cruz, the current slugger for the Twins, led the majors in home runs seven years ago.
Names as currently familiar as Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw were the MVPs in 2014, an award each could very well have won in 2020. Two of the best catchers in the game back then remained so in 2020 with the same teams, Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants and Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.
As durable as those stars have been, I think it is safe to bet that neither will likely be on the roster when (and if) the Yankees and Red Sox make their next deal.