5. Rich Scheid, Dean Wilkins and Bob Tewksbury for Steve Trout, 1987
Bob “Rat” Tewksbury was yet another example of the Yankees trading a cheaper, younger and better in-house option for a temporary quick fix. It seems the Yankees were once again mastered by the urgency of the moment, making moves designed to win now as opposed to building a sustainable winner.
The 1987 season was a typical season under then-owner George Steinbrenner. The Yankees were a middling team struggling to stay in the pennant race. As middlers, teams must decide to go all in or fold a prepare for next year. I think we all know what Steinbrenner was going to do.
On July 13, 1987, the Yankees traded Tewksbury and others for Steve Trout. In the Yankees’ defense, Trout had a won loss record of 6-3 with three complete games, two of those being shutouts. So, at the time, it looked like the Yankees were getting a stud.
Instead, they got a dud. In New York, Trout had a won-loss record of 0-4 with a 6.60 ERA. Not only did he not help the Yankees win the pennant, but his pitching also actually made their chances worse. At the end of the season, he left for the greener pastures of Seattle and was out of the league in two seasons.
Meanwhile, Tewksbury would go on to pitch for another 12 seasons in the major leagues, amassing 110 wins. He finished his career with 3.92 ERA. He had double-digit wins in six seasons. He was an All-Star for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1992, the same year he placed third in the Cy Young award voting.
The Yankees had given up in the trade exactly what they needed to win. If only they could think long-term. But the Yankees have a long history of giving up young pitching, including the next player we will discuss.