Yankees: The worst trades in franchise history

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Yankees trades
Vernon Wells was one of the Yankees trades that didn’t work out. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /

14. December 9, 1941. New York trades Tommy Holmes to the Boston Braves for a pair of players to be named later (Buddy Hassett and Gene Moore).

New York had signed Tommy Holmes as an amateur free agent before the 1937 season. While minor league statistics for the late ’30s and early ’40s are somewhat incomplete, Holmes was a solid contributor over his five seasons in the minors. He regularly hit over .300 with 25+ doubles. There was just no room for him in the Yankees outfield, so the team would trade him before he’d make his debut.

He blossomed once arriving in the majors in 1942. After that, he’d become a fixture in the Braves lineup. Holmes was a .302/.366/.432 hitter over his career. He twice led the league in hits and received MVP consideration for four straight years (a strong argument could be made that he should have won it in 1945).

Hassett was at the tail end of his career, playing just one season in New York before retiring. He hit well in that time, at least, batting .282/.325/.364 in 581 plate appearances.

Moore never would play for the Yankees, as his contract was purchased by the Brooklyn Dodgers just three weeks later.

13. March 26, 2013. New York trades Exicardo Cavones and Kramer Sneed to the Los Angeles Angels for Vernon Wells.

For years the Yankees had to deal with Vernon Wells batting in the heart of the Blue Jays lineup. He was a .279/.330/.478 hitter from 2002 to 2010, averaging 36 doubles and 25 homers a year. He never once struck out 100 times in a season. He was a particular thorn in the Yankees side, batting .301/.352/.516 against the team.

Wells earned the massive contract extension the Blue Jays gave him, but changes in the team’s long-term plans eventually necessitated his trade to Los Angeles. Two dismal seasons later the Angels were looking to get out of what remained on that contract — two years and $42 million — and the Yankees came calling.

Wells hit just .233/.282/.349 in his lone season in New York. The team would release him at year’s end, simply swallowing what remained on his contract.

Neither Cavones nor Sneed ever reached the upper minor leagues.