Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trade Gauge: Norm Charlton for Kevin Mitchell

November 17, 1992: The Cincinnati Reds trade Norm Charlton to the Seattle Mariners for Kevin Mitchell.

Reds fallout: The Reds really shook up their outfield in the 1992/1993 offseason. Paul O'Neill shipped of to New York in exchange for the pesky Panamanian Roberto Kelly. Reggie Sanders moved up in the order. Bip Roberts moved to the bench. Dave Martinez moved out of town. Mitchell was envisioned as a major bopper for the power-starved Reds but hit only 19 home runs in limited action, albeit with a 0.341 average. He smacked 30 in the strike-shortened 1994 but quickly faded to black in the American League from 1996 onwards. The bullpen suffered without Charlton too with Rob Dibble imploding and imported veterans Jeff Reardon and Greg Cadaret not doing much to pick up the slack.

Mariners fallout: Charlton was supposed to be the antidote to the Mariners longstanding bullpen woes. Amazing Edwin Nunez and Mike Schooler weren't longterm solutions, ain't it? Charlton was effective in 1993... when he wasn't plauged by injuries, which was seldom. He ultimately left the Ms after the season and bounced between seven other teams in subsequent years, including a return visit to the Reds and two, count 'em TWO returns to the Mariners. Lightweights Mike Felder and Greg Litton took most of Mitchell's at-bats for the Mariners but considering Big Kev never really found his stride in the Pacific NW, not a huge loss.

The winner: Let's go with Mitchell. Charlton was far too injured and far too toe-headed to be considered "the spoils" in this value-for-value swap. You don't see closers traded for position players of this magnitude anymore but give the Mariners credit for taking a shot by shipping out the lumpy Mitchell for the fiery lefthander.

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