Saturday, October 7, 2017

Trades: Dodgers and Twins (Nov. 1967)

Another installment in an occasional series about some big trades in the 1960s: 

On November 28, 1967 the Dodgers gutted their bullpen and starting catching in an attempt to land a front-line shortstop. They failed miserably.

The Dodgers' top 2 relievers (Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller) along with John Roseboro (their starting catcher since 1958) were sent to the Twins in exchange for shortstop Zoilo Versalles and veteran pitcher Jim "Mudcat" Grant.

Ron Perranoski played for the Dodgers from 1961-67, and was the leader of the bullpen from 1962-65 and again in 1967. He led the NL in games during the '62 and '63 seasons. His 16-3 record in 1963 was the league's highest winning percentage. He never made an All-Star team, surprising given his stats and having played for the high-profile Dodgers. After the trade, Ron led the AL in saves during the '69 and '70 seasons with Minnesota. He was traded to the Tigers during the 1971 season.

Bob Miller played for the Dodgers from 1963-67.  Although a starter for much of 1963, he was strictly a reliever after that, taking his place right behind Perranoski on the bullpen ladder. Miller put in 2 solid seasons with the Twins (again behind Perranoski), then bounced around to 7 other teams during his final 5 seasons.

John Roseboro was a three-time All-Star with the Dodgers and had been the starter since taking over for the injured Roy Campanella at the start of the 1958 season. After the trade, John played 2 full seasons as the Twins' starting catcher (including making the All-Star team in 1969), then finished his career in 1970 as a backup for the Senators.

So who did the Dodgers get in exchange for those 3 guys who continued playing at a high level? LA was hoping to find a replacement for Maury Wills (who was traded away a year earlier) but got a whole lot of nothing.

Zoilo Versalles was the AL MVP in 1965, but had been declining since then. After batting .249 and .200 in his final 2 seasons with the Twins, he hit a whopping .196 in his only season with the Dodgers. Left unprotected in the expansion draft, he was selected by the Padres, but was quickly flipped to the Indians for 5-time Topps "Rookie Star" Bill Davis. Versalles was sold to the Senators in mid-year, then cut after the season. Verdict: Bust!

Mudcat Grant was a key starting pitcher for the Indians (1958-64) and Twins (1964-67), and won 21 games in 1965. He pitched mostly in relief for the Dodgers in 1968, then was selected by the Expos in the expansion draft.

(Roseboro's 1st-series card still shows him as a Dodger.)

ADVANTAGE: Twins! The Dodgers got only 1 season each from Grant and Versalles (both sub-par), while Perranoski and Roseboro (and to a lesser extent Miller) put in multiple solid seasons for the Twins.

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