Seattle Mariners Trades of July 31, 1997

From BR Bullpen

On July 31, 1997, the Seattle Mariners made two trades just before the deadline.

Trade One; July 31, 1997
Toronto Blue Jays get: Seattle Mariners get:
Jose Cruz, Jr. Paul Spoljaric
Mike Timlin

The first deal sent newly christened starting left fielder Jose Cruz, Jr. to the Blue Jays for bullpen help, namely Paul Spoljaric and Mike Timlin. Cruz spent five more seasons with the Blue Jays, but did not turn into the hitter he was expected to. He hit only .250 in Toronto with a career average of .247, although he has turned into a good defensive player, winning a Gold Glove with the Giants in 2003.

Although Timlin pitched fairly well for the Mariners, he was only in Seattle through 1998, after which he became a valuable set up pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

Spoljaric, on the other hand, was a disaster. Also only in Seattle through '98, he compiled a 6-10 record and a 6.23 ERA with the M's. His final season was 2000, where he went 0-4 with a 6.52 ERA for the Kansas City Royals.

Trade Two; July 31, 1997
Boston Red Sox get: Seattle Mariners get:
Derek Lowe Heathcliff Slocumb
Jason Varitek

The second deal made that day still haunts Mariner fans to this day.

In search of a reliable closer, the M's dealt for Red Sock hurler Heathcliff Slocumb. He was not the dependable arm they had hoped for, going 2-9 with a 4.97 ERA in his season and a half in Seattle. It's not necessarily what Slocumb did in Seattle, but what the Mariners gave up that bothers Mariner fans.

Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe went on to become stars. Both are two-time All-Stars and were integral parts of the 2004 Red Sox championship season. Lowe was both a starter and closer for Boston, compiling a 70-55 record and an ERA of 3.72 in his seven and a half seasons in Fenway. In addition, Varitek was the team captain of the Red Sox for many seasons and spent all of his fifteen big league seasons in Boston.

Conversely, this is considered one of the finest trades pulled off by Dan Duquette.