Throughout July we're going to present 30 deals in 30 days: the best trade deadline deal ever made by each team. We've covered the AL East and NL East so far and are now on the AL Central.
THE TEAM: Chicago White Sox
THE YEAR: 1998
THE SITUATION: It was late July and the White Sox were 46-60 while their crosstown rival Cubs were 61-47, riding Sammy Sosa's home runs and the strikeouts of rookie Kerry Wood to the lead in the wild-card race. Cubs GM Ed Lynch decided he needed some help in the bullpen. The White Sox were willing to oblige, making a rare crosstown trade.
THE TRADE: Matt Karchner was a 31-year-old reliever with a 5.15 ERA and a career ERA of 4.08. For some reason, the Cubs desired him. They gave up -- or should I say gave up on? -- Jon Garland, whom they had drafted 10th overall in 1997. Sure, Garland had a 5.03 ERA in the Midwest League, but he was just 18 years old and there was a reason he had been a first-round pick: He had talent.
THE AFTERMATH: Karchner went 3-1 with a 5.14 ERA for the Cubs, who would hold on to win the wild card before getting swept in the playoffs by the Braves, but Karchner would pitch just 60.2 innings in his Cubs career. Garland would go on to win 92 games for the White Sox and his best season came in 2005, when he went 18-10 and helped the White Sox end their 88-year World Series drought with two strong starts in the postseason.
You would never see such a trade today -- a general manager trading away his franchise's first-round pick so soon after being drafted, especially for a middling relief pitcher. No GM would want to admit they had made a mistake with such a high draft pick. While Garland was never a star, he was a durable innings eater for many seasons and earned 22.5 WAR ... and that World Series ring.