Study shows that the Giants have been one of the least successful teams at making good trades since 1961.
The surprise to me is that the Giants are not even last, not by a mile. We have a long litany of horrible trades that ended up lopsided for the other team. For gosh's sakes, we've traded away for virtually nothing two Hall of Famers, a number of 40+ homer hitters when that was a rare and special thing, a 50 homer hitter when that was a rarer and more special thing, and a number of fan favorites. For entertainment I used to look through the Sunday list of player stats for ex-Giants and how they were doing so much better than the current Giants. Then at the World Series I would do the Giants version of the Cubs World Series curse and count the number of players who were ex-Giants on the two World Series participants (the one with the most Giants always lost when I checked).
The first big lopper was before my time but a big one nonetheless: Orlando Cepeda for Ray Sadecki. And who can forget this whopper of a loser (well I guess the player we got in trade since he was an admitted total drunk): Gaylord Perry for Sudden Sam McDowell (who wasn't sudden any more). I'm still cursing that one, damn Indians ripped us off! But that was soon followed by another total loser of a trade: George Foster for Frank Duffy. That's an All-time trio of horrible trades - two Hall of Famers and a 50 homer hitter - and we haven't even finished the 1971 season yet!
Not as big but still hurt was the trade of Chris Speier for Tim Foli. Tim was serviceable at least, unlike the losers above (well Sadecki did well but had a losing record still). We also lost King Kong Dave Kingman in trade (but at least got $100K). Still in the early 70's.
Then there was a lull in trades, or perhaps my memory, before we get to some good ones in the 80's. Rob Deer was given away for magic beans (at least baseball's version of magic beans, two prospects who never did anything). Jack Clark was given away for David Green and others, though we did get a player who lives in Giants lore out of it in Jo-say Urrri-bay, the literal player to be named later (I think his name was Jose Gonzalez or some other common Latin surname and he changed it to his mother's maiden name when he was traded).
One that was relatively minor but that stuck in my craw was trading Fred Breining, Max Venable, and then throwing in Andy McGaffigan (I loved Andy!) for Al Oliver, who we didn't even keep for a whole season before trading him off. Another one that bothered me was trading Dan Gladden for basically nothing.
There was basically a big lull during the Al Rosen/Bob Quinn/Brian Sabean era as far as I can remember. But I have a feeling the Joe Nathan trade will turn out to be a big lopper with A.J. 86'ed out of SF for a doughnut hole. And with the way Livan has suddenly seen the light (perhaps that old man he took a swing at with a golf club corrected his pitching arm?), it looks like that will be a big loser despite Brower's great stats with us.
But we got some good lopsided ones sometimes too. Jeffrey Leonard for Mike Ivie (plus we got Dave Bergman, who I liked and followed his career after the Giants). Don Robinson for Mackey Sasser. Big Daddy Rick Rueschel for two so-so major leaguers. Kevin Mitchell, Dave Dravecky, AND Craig Lefferts for Chris Brown, Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and Mark Grant. And then we came ahead even more by trading Mitchell with Remlinger for Bill Swift, Mike Jackson, and Dave Burba. (Never noticed until now that we traded away two big disappointing pitching prospects in Mark Grant and Mike Remlinger in Kevin Mitchell trades)
Then there was Rod Beck for a prospect (stealing him from the A's made it doubly sweet!). Shawn Estes for Solomon Torres. Robb Nen for 3 prospects. Jeff Kent (and others who have done OK in the majors) for Matt Williams. And of course our biggest lopsider, Jason Schmidt (plus John Valder Wal) for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios. Even the Livan trade to use worked for us, giving up only prospects who haven't done much still while Livan pitched OK for us.
So there goes the difference between the Giants and the Mets, the Giants have gotten some big trades in their favor over the past 20 years or so. We could use another this season, especially with the push to win it all this season.