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ESPN names 1999 deal worst-ever for D-backs at trade deadline

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The Arizona Diamondbacks will be hoping that this year’s 2019 trade deadline, whether they sell or not, won’t be as bad as 1999’s.

That is, at least, according to ESPN. MLB writer David Schoenfield picked the worst deadline deal each team has made in its history. Most deals happened in the 1990s and 2000s, though.

The D-backs’ worst deal came in just their second season as a team.

Schoenfield picked the 1999 deadline trade of Brad Penny, Vladimir Nunez and Abraham Nunez to the Marlins for Matt Mantei.

From ESPN:

Future WAR traded away: 17.0

WAR acquired: 2.4

In just their second year of existence, the Diamondbacks were a playoff contender and needed a closer. Mantei was one of the first of the new breed of 100 mph flamethrowers (he would fan 99 in 65⅓ innings in 1999) and saved 22 games for Arizona as it won the NL West before losing to the Mets in the division series. Mantei lost the clinching game when he served up Todd Pratt’s walk-off home run. He battled injuries after that while Penny had some good years with the Marlins and Dodgers.

Mantei was good in 1999 post the trade to Arizona, with a 2.79 ERA and 165 ERA+ in 29 innings. The rest of his D-backs tenure, which consisted of five seasons, saw him post a 4.29 ERA and 110 ERA+.

Penny, who was just a prospect at the time, went on to have a solid MLB career which spanned 14 seasons, including six with the Marlins and five with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom he made his two All-Star appearances and finished third in Cy Young voting in 2007.

Vladimir Nunez was a young pitcher who might have been figuring it out when the D-backs traded him. Nunez posted a 2.91 ERA in 27 games as a 24-year-old for the D-backs in 1999 before being traded to the Marlins. He played five years there, along with two with the Atlanta Braves and one with the Colorado Rockies. Vladimir never saw true success though, finishing his career with -0.6 WAR.

Abraham Nunez played in just 136 games in his career as a Marlin and Kansas City Royal. After being traded to Miami in 1999, Abraham made his major league debut in 2002, but struggled immensely and was sent back down.

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