The 2017 trade deadline has come and gone without much fuss, which left most of us feeling empty and disappointed. Though it won’t change the fact that nothing fun happened at this year’s deadline, let’s take a look at the ten trades that have made the biggest impact on the Palisades Wiffle Ball League.
But first, an honorable mention:
2015 - Diamondbacks trade 8th pick and cash for 7th pick
This trade went under the radar, mainly because it happened 5 minutes before the 7th pick in the 2016 draft was made. Garret Torres and Kyle VonSchleusingen’s swap laid the groundwork for their respective franchises in different ways. Torres was able to use the 7th pick to secure his brother Devin Torres and assure that the brothers would have a chance to play together until one or both of them retires. Kyle selected Rob “Wiffman” Piervinanzi, who was later traded to create a 3-headed monster of a pitching staff in 2017.
10. 2016 - Yankees trade Bobby Daly for 2017 first round pick
By the middle of the summer of 2016, the Yankees had found their identity. They relied on pitching to win close games, and they wanted their game-changing hitters to get more at bats. Bobby Daly is the league’s all-time hits leader, but he wasn’t the kind of one-swing-to-win-it hitter the Yankees needed. They chose to unload the veteran and pick up a first round pick from the Astros, who at the time, had no identity. The move would make the Astros a more well-rounded team, but mostly, it brought the eventual team owner home. After Matt Riegler announced his leave of absence in 2017, Daly took the reins and got to work on the rebuilding process, but most importantly, he kept the Astros franchise alive.
9. 2017 - Royals get Fitzgerald for Dakota and a pick
2017 has so far seen the Royals make 5 moves, but this one was one of the most impactful. In giving up Dakota Kenny, who they had recently acquired from the Brewers for Ben Stant and a first round pick, they hauled in one of the most feared hitters in the league. It was a move that could really shake up the playoff picture, as what the Royals were missing most was a deadly hitter who could change the course of a game at any moment. Pair Gerard with Oliver Avallone and you have a formidable duo on the carpet and some invaluable playoff experience. The Royals are having their best year yet, and this move shows that they’re playing for some serious September wiffle ball.
8. 2017 Offseason - Brewers send first overall pick to Dodgers
This move changed the shape of the entire 2017 draft and the future of these two teams in one fell swoop. The Brewers were going into the draft with the first overall pick, and at the time, it appeared as though there were no players with substantial PWBL experience lining up to join the Brew Crew. In a way, Jason Paraskevas was handcuffed into giving up the pick in order to open up options for himself. The Dodgers jumped on the opportunity and traded Joe Schaefer, a well-respected player who could eat innings and come through with some clutch hits, and the 3rd overall pick to the Brewers. This made it much more enticing for players to opt out or enter the draft knowing that they’d be going to a team with two very good pitchers and a history of winning. We’ll get into more of the implications of this trade further down this list.
7. 2016 Offseason - Astros and Cardinals swap picks
This trade has done more for the teams not involved than for the two who made it happen. In a bizarre move, Kris Morse gave up his first round pick (and his fourth round pick) for Matt Riegler’s second and third round picks. This left the Cardinals without a first round pick in perhaps the most important draft in Palisades history, the final full draft before the “keeper era” began. Riegler looked to be sitting pretty with two consecutive first round picks. Most owners would have gone with two lights-out pitchers: Robles, Weiner, Devin Torres, Brian DiNapoli, and Oliver Avallone were all still available. Instead he went with Jordan Robles and Gerard Fitzgerald, giving the Astros one great pitcher and one great hitter, but no overwhelming strength in either category. The move left the Astros struggling to find their way most of the season, and Matt Riegler uninterested in returning the following season. Morse’s Cardinals, on the other hand, used both of their second round picks to secure two high-caliber pitchers in Avallone and Rob Longiaru, but left themselves with no one to strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers.
The Astros’ picks ended up on two different teams the following season, and Morse’s top pick was traded after 2016’s end, spreading the talent among the league and further away from these two troubled franchises.
6. 2017 Offseason - Cardinals trade Oliver for Cole and pick
Speaking of Oliver Avallone, here’s where he ended up. The Royals needed a top-flight pitcher, and Avallone was ready to help a team with the ability to score more runs. In return, the Cardinals acquired Jimmy Cole, who could disrupt some contests with his bat, and the second overall pick in the 2017 draft. That pick turned into Tom Polly, who as of the day this article is being written, hasn’t done much to improve the Cardinals. Anthony Bevilacqua or Ty Wegerzn would have been better picks, but the Cardinals once again came away with an underwhelming draft. Meanwhile, the Royals now look like they could be playoff-bound, and with Oliver leading the way with a 0.44 ERA, this move looks like an overwhelming win on their part.
5. 2016 - D-Backs, Brewers swap vets, picks
In what is the most loaded trade in league history, the struggling Brewers made sure they would have a chance to rebuild for their future. They received Cy Young Award winner Dakota Kenny and the Diamondbacks’ first round picks in 2017 and 2018 for 2-time MVP Rich Guillod. The 2017 pick the Brewers acquired turned into Eric Lanks, who was then traded for $50, so it didn’t really pan out as a big win for the Brewers, but Dakota was traded to the Royals for Ben Stant their 2018 first round pick. The Brewers at that point (for the 2018 draft) had their own first round pick, the Diamondbacks’ first round pick, and the Royals’ first round pick. Since the move, they’ve given up the Diamondbacks’ pick and acquired the Giants’ first round pick, a move that could be a fairly even swap, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Brewers now have three first round picks for 2018. In the move, the Diamondbacks received a player who has won on the big stage, one of the best hitters in league history, and a more-than-capable pitcher to fill in when one of the Torres brothers are unavailable. This trade could be a winner for both teams, but so far it hasn’t yielded any substantial results.
4. 2017 Offseason - Robles for Gitlitz and first overall pick
The Mariners are a team with a history of excellence. They also have a history of familiar faces. John Istorico, Matt Fliesser, Scott Fliesser, and Steven Gitlitz are Mariners through and through, but two of them were missing before the 2017 season. This trade fixed that issue. The Padres gave up the first pick in the draft for the perennial all star Jordan Robles who had been acquired by the Mariners for Brian DiNapoli. This paved the way for the Padres to boast a tremendous pitching staff of Robles, VonSchleusingen, and Sean Ryan. Meanwhile, the Mariners’ acquisition of the first overall pick meant that Matt Fliesser could comfortably come back to enter the draft and end up on his team of choice.
3. 2017 Offseason - Padres trade Wiffman for first overall pick
Kyle VonSchleusingen was in quite the predicament as the owner of the Padres going into the draft. Rob “Wiffman” Piervinanzi wanted out of San Diego, and it looked like he might opt out, leaving the Padres with just two players and a less-than-stellar first round pick in the middle of the round. Kyle received plenty of offers for Wiffman, but none were good enough in his eyes. The waiting game payed off for him, and the Dodgers finally offered a trade that was to Kyle’s liking. VonSchleusingen sent the two-time triple crown winner to the Dodgers for the first overall pick in the draft, which was then quickly traded to the Mariners in the move described above. This move immediately flipped the Dodgers from a losing team with no big bats to the team with perhaps the best chance to claim the cup at the end of 2017. Wiffman, Costa, and Trenary fill out a team that no opponent wants to see on their schedule, especially in the playoffs.
2. 2015 - Royals set up champion in order to have fun
Greg Tyler is a solid player in the PWBL. He’s no all star, but he’s a player most teams would love to have on their roster. Jordan Robles, on the other hand, is one of the most dominant pitchers in league history. This is what made this trade perhaps the most debated swap in league history. Owners quarreled for days over the prospect of this trade, and eventually, somehow, they let it go through. The Royals were in favor of this trade because they knew Greg and thought they’d have a more loose, fun season with him on the squad. The Dodgers were in favor of this trade because they believed Jordan was the piece they were missing, and it turns out they were dead right. Jordan struggled with the Royals, but it was most likely because he had no run support and perhaps he was uncomfortable playing with the team, but right after he joined the Dodgers he was lights out, and he played like the pitcher everyone knew he was. This move propelled the Dodgers on a winning run that gave them a first round bye in the playoffs and ultimately the PWBL championship.
1. 2013 - Tigers acquire best pitcher in league history for scraps
Before the voting committee was created, trades were up to the owners involved. The first few trades were inconsequential: Izzy Retome for John Oakes, Andy Blickley for a 2nd round pick, and Joey DiGioia for Andy Blickley. The first big trade in league history happened when Michael Bennett unloaded the bad-for-the-young-guys’-morale Tim Trenary, the most dominant pitcher in the league to date, and received Mike Frezza and a photo of Billy Murphy in a horse head mask in return (there was talk of 15 scuffed balls and $40 being included, but I have not been able to confirm these rumors.) Like the Dodgers’ acquisition of Jordan Robles, Trenary turned the Tigers from hopefuls into favorites, and was ultimately the most valuable player in their championship series against the Mariners when he struck out 43 batters in 17 innings of shutout wiffle ball in game one and hit a walk off home run, and then he saved game two by striking out the side in the bottom of the sixth. Most debated trade of all time? No. Most lopsided and impactful trade of all time? This writer thinks so.
What do you think are the most impactful trades in league history? Let us know in the comments section.