When the San Diego Padres acquired Kevin Brown from the Marlins, I don’t think anyone thought he would be as good as he was.
The San Diego Padres caught Kevin Brown in the prime of his career, although it occurred much later than when most players entire the same window. The former fourth overall pick in the 1986 MLB Draft was initially selected by the Texas Rangers.
He made his major league debut that year, pitching five innings of six-hit ball while allowing two runs and striking out four. He would disappear back into the Rangers minor league affiliates, making 45 starts over the next two years before resurfacing in the 1988 season for good.
With Texas, Brown made 186 starts while spinning a 3.81 ERA to go along with six shutouts. After MLB’s strike in 1994 concluded, Brown signed with the Orioles, playing just one season there and signed with the Marlins in the offseason.
In game six of the 1997 NLCS, Brown tossed a complete game that helped the Marlins clinch their ticket to the World Series. After the fall classic celebrations calmed down, the Marlins traded Brown to the Padres in exchange for Derrek Lee.
Lee was taken 14th overall in the 1993 MLB Draft, and after winning a World Series with the Marlins in 2003, he signed with the Chicago Cubs, becoming a permanent staple in the north siders lineup. His best season came in 2005 when he mashed 45 bombs and drove in 107 runs. For his efforts, he finished third in NL MVP voting.
Brown spent just one season in San Diego but posted a 2.38 ERA in 35 starts. He was masterful in the postseason, tossing a 0.61 ERA in two starts in the NLDS, and a 2.61 ERA in two appearances.
He blew a critical save in the World Series as the Padres would get swept by the New York Yankees and signed a seven-year, $105 million deal with the rival Dodgers in the offseason. He would be traded to the Yankees before the 2004 season and retired before the 2006 season.
Knowing how both Lee and Brown’s career played out, would you still make that trade?