Thanks to Time Warner dropping the Braves' payroll from $100 million to $80 million, there was no way the team was going to re-sign Gary Sheffield. So general manager John Schuerholz looked for a replacement.
He found a candidate that looked perfect. J.D. Drew was a Georgia boy, born and raised in the small town of Hahira, GA, just 25 minutes from the Florida border. Drew had been a star at FSU but had not realized his full potential with St. Louis. Injuries had limited his ability to show the baseball world exactly how talented a player he was.
The Braves hoped if Drew came to Atlanta, he would fall in love with playing closer to home and re-sign for the long-term. But sometimes when you trade for an established veteran player, you have to sacrifice a young prospect.
Atlanta was the recipient of that type of deal back in 1987 when the Braves traded veteran Doyle Alexander for a young prospect named John Smoltz.
Little did we know the Braves would have their own John Smoltz-type trade with the deal that sent Wainwright to St. Louis. Except this time, the Braves gave up a player that will go down as one of the best pitchers in the other team's history.
Wainwright helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2006 as a closer. And he has turned into one of the best starting pitchers in the game. Wainwright has a career record of 111 wins and 61 losses, with an ERA of 2.99.
Let's look back on the coverage from December, 2003 when the Braves sent Wainwright to the Cardinals in the deal for J.D. Drew.
Trades Involve More Than Just Names
Trading Prospects is Never Easy
Walt Jocketty talks about the Wainwright trade
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