The Curt Schilling Trade: 6 Years Later

It's rare to see an `ace' be dealt, unless they are not thought of as such, or they are dealt for money concerns. And so goes the Philadelphia Phillies. Six years ago they dealt Curt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks for LHP Omar Daal, RHP Vicente Padilla, 1BTravis Lee, and RHP Nelson Figueroa. It is a Wednesday that will be remembered because of the blockbuster nature of the deal, and also because Schilling has gone on to have great success. It's hard to see how good or bad a deal was without actually going back and seeing what the Phillies got from it and what they gave up. Let's go back and check, year by year:


The rest of the season was wretched for the Phillies, and they went 65-97. Mike Lieberthal was a steady bat in the lineup, Pat Burrell was a promising youngster, and Scott Rolen was still manning the hot corner. And the trade looked pretty average in regards to results (even if the players which they got back didn't have high ceilings, sans Padilla).

Nelson Figueroa (AAA Scranton)

    * 4-3 50 IP (8 starts) 3.78 ERA 1.22 WHIP
    * 6.3 K per 9, 1.98 BB per 9, 3.18 K:BB ratio, and 9 home runs

Vicente Padilla (Philadelphia)

    * 2-6 30.1 IP (28 games), 2 saves, 5.34 ERA 1.91 WHIP (89 ERA+)
    * 6.23 K per 9, 5.34 BB per 9, 1.17 K:BB ratio, 3 home runs

Travis Lee (Philadelphia)

    * 239 avg/381 OBP/328 slugging - 709 OPS (80 OPS+)
    * 11 doubles, 1 triple, 1 home run, 14 RBI, 19 runs, 3 SB

Omar Daal (Philadelphia)

    * 2-9 71 IP (12 starts) 4.69 ERA, 1.56 WHIP (101 ERA+)
    * 6.46 K per 9, 3.80 BB per 9, 1.7 K:BB ratio, 9 home runs

Curt Schilling (Arizona)

    * 5-6 97.2 IP (13 starts) 3.69 ERA 1.10 WHIP (127 ERA+)
    * 6.63 K per 9, 1.20 BB per 9, 5.54 K:BB ratio, 10 home runs

It looks like the Phillies lost out the first year. Curt Schilling had been rehabbing an injury for the Phillies, but pitched in top-form for the Diamondbacks. This is also the season where his control started to leap from great to unreal. Travis Lee knew how to take a walk, but simply could not swing the bat. He did play a fine first base, for what that's worth. Omar Daal was a league average pitcher, nothing special. Vicente Padilla and Nelson Figueroa were the two that maybe provided some hope, though Padillla struggled to find his role in the bullpen and was extremely wild.

Advantage: Diamondbacks


The Phillies imprved significantly in 2001, going 86-76 under first year manager Larry Bowa and falling short of the division-leading Braves by only 2 games. They were led by Bobby Abreu, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell on offense, and a cadre of young starting pitchers such as Randy Wolf, Dave Coggin(until injury), Bruce Chen(until dealt), and Nelson Figueroa. Robert Person was the veteran presence who provided a decent season as well. Now for the trade:

Nelson Figueroa(AAA Scranton/Philadelphia)

    * AAA Scranton - 4-2 87.1 IP (12 starts) 2.47 ERA 1.05 WHIP
    * 7.63 K per 9, 1.85 BB per 9, 4.11 K:BB ratio, 6 home runs

    * Philadelphia - 4-5 89 IP (19 G, 13 starts) 3.94 ERA 1.48 WHIP (108 ERA+)
    * 6.17 K per 9, 3.71 BB per 9, 1.65 K:BB ratio, 8 home runs

Vicente Padilla (AAA Scranton/Philadelphia)

    * AAA Scranton - 7-0 81.2 IP (16 starts) 2.42 ERA 0.92 WHIP
    * 8.27 K per 9, 1.21 BB per 9, 6.82 K:BB ratio, 8 home runs

    * Philadelphia - 3-1 34 IP (23 G) 4.24 ERA 1.41 WHIP (101 ERA+)
    * 7.68 K per 9, 3.18 BB per 9, 2.42 K:BB ratio, 1 home run

Travis Lee (Philadelphia)

    * 258 avg/341 OBP/434 SLG - 775 OPS (101 OPS+)
    * 34 doubles, 2 triples, 20 home runs, 90 RBI, 75 runs, 3 for 7 SB

Omar Daal (Philadelphia)

    * 13-7 185.7 IP (32 starts) 4.46 ERA 1.37 WHIP (96 ERA+)
    * 5.19 K per 9, 2.71 BB per 9, 1.91 K:BB ratio, 26 home runs

Curt Schilling (Arizona)

    * season: 22-6 256.2 IP (35 starts) 2.98 ERA 1.08 WHIP (154 ERA+)
    * 10.27 K per 9, 1.37 BB per 9, 7.51 K:BB ratio, 37 home runs

    * playoffs: 4-0 48.1 IP (6 starts) 1.11 ERA 0.64 WHIP
    * 10.43 K per 9, 1.12 BB per 9, 9.33 K:BB ratio

So the Phillies greatly improved in 2001. Travis Lee refound some of his power and became a league-average ballplayer, but still a below-average first baseman. Omar Daal had an iffy season, having an OK ERA but nothing else. Nelson Figueroa had a good season overall, and Vicente Padilla blossomed as a starter in AAA. If he were inserted into the rotation in Philadephia, perhaps the Phillies would have overtaken the Braves.
But the Diamondbacks did even better, and they improved to the point that they won the World Series, finally ending the late 90s dynasty of the Yankees. Curt Schilling got his first World Series ring, and would have won the CY Young award if not for his own teammate Randy Johnson.

Advantage: Diamondbacks


Scott Rolen was traded this year. The Curt Schilling deal was starting to fall apart in as the pieces the Phillies got from the traded started to dissasemble in 2002. Omar Daal was traded to the Dodgers in the off-season for minor league pitchers Eric Junge and Jesus Cordero in a smart salary dump by Ed Wade (imagine that, a smart move). Daal would be out of baseball in two years flat. Nelson Figueroa was picked off waivers on April 3rd by the Milwaukee Brewers, and would go on to be a fill-in AAAA type pitcher for them and later the Pirates. So there goes one piece. The Phillies themselves went 80-81 and disappointed. How did the other parts do?

Vicente Padilla (Philadelphia)

    * 14-11 206 IP (32 starts) 3.28 ERA 1.22 WHIP (116 ERA+)
    * 5.59 K per 9, 2.32 BB per 9, 2.42 K:BB ratio, 16 home runs

Travis Lee (Philadelphia)

    * 265 avg/331 OBP/394 SLG - 725 OPS (98 OPS+)
    * 26 doubles, 2 triples, 13 home runs, 70 RBI, 55 runs, 5 for 8 SB

Eric Junge (AAA Scranton/Philadelphia)

    * AAA Scranton - 12-6 180.2 IP (29 starts) 3.54 ERA 1.31 WHIP
    * 6.28 K per 9, 3.34 BB per 9, 1.88 K:BB ratio, 16 home runs

    * Philadelphia - 2-0 12.2 IP (4 G, 1 start) 1.42 ERA 1.50 WHIP
    * 11 K, 5 BB, no homers

Jesus Cordero(A Lakewood/A Clearwater)

    * A Lakewood - 0-0 6 IP (6 G) 3.00 ERA 1.33 WHIP
    * 3 walks, 1 K, no homers

    * A Clearwater - 0-3 21 IP (8 G, 2 starts) 6.43 ERA 1.95 WHIP
    * 6.86 K per 9, 5.14 BB per 9, 1.33 K:BB ratio, 2 home runs

Curt Schilling (Arizona)

    * season: 23-7 259.1 IP (36 G, 35 starts) 3.23 ERA 0.97 WHIP (136 ERA+)
    * 10.97 K per 9, 1.15 BB per 9, 9.58 K:BB ratio, 29 home runs

    * playoffs: 0-0 1 start 7 IP, 7 hits, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 7 K

Travis Lee took a step back, Eric Junge did alright, Jesus Cordero flamed out and hasn't been on the baseball radar since, while Vicente Padilla flourished in the starting rotation. He became an all-star and showed good control. Curt Schilling had a slightly better year in every respect to 2001 except for the ring and his ERA. He and Padilla had similar ERAs, but Schilling far outpitched him.
Advantage: slightly Diamondbacks


This was the year the Phillies were supposed to go over the hump, as they dealt for Kevin Millwood and signed Jim Thome to play first, vastly improving that area of the lineup. However, they fell short once again, and lost another piece from the Schilling deal in Travis Lee. This was not a bad thing, because of the lack of production he brought to first base, but it showed that the trade was ending up being a one for one of Schilling for Padilla. Here's how they (and Eric Junge) did:

Vicente Padilla (Philadelphia)

    * 14-12 208.2 IP (32 starts) 3.62 ERA 1.24 WHIP (114 ERA+)
    * 5.74 K per 9, 2.67 BB per 9, 2.15 K:BB ratio, 22 home runs

Eric Junge (AAA Scranton/Philadelphia)

    * AAA Scranton1-1 47 IP (10 G, 8 starts) 3.06 ERA 1.15 WHIP
    * 8.04 K per 9, 3.06 BB per 9, 2.63 K:BB ratio, 2 home runs

    * Philadelphia - 0-0 7.2 IP (6 G) 3.52 ERA 0.78 WHIP
    * 5 K, 1 BB, 1 home run

Curt Schilling (Arizona/rehab assignment)

    * 8-9 168 IP (24 starts) 2.95 ERA 0.97 WHIP (159 ERA+)
    * 10.39 K per 9, 1.71 BB per 9, 6.06 K:BB ratio, 17 home runs

Schilling was hurt part of this season, and had a losing record. However, he still pitched tremendous when he was healthy, and ended up only having 40 less innings than Padilla. Padilla had another good season, but started to show signs of losing some control as he slightly increased his walks and home runs given up. Nevertheless, he was a steady arm in the rotation, sporting a 35.9 pitcher's VORP(value over replacement pitcher). Junge pitched fine, but the Phillies wouldn't give him much of a shot.

Advantage: PUSH


This is the season where the results of the trade became somewhat absurd. Schilling was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Red Sox for a whole lot of `maybes' that didn't pan out for them. However, we will still check out how the trade was. The Phillies had another 2nd place finish, and Vicente Padilla got injured. Let's check out Padilla vs. Schilling:

Vicente Padilla (Philadelphia/rehab assignment)

    * 7-7 115.1 IP (20 starts) 4.53 ERA 1.34 WHIP (96 ERA+)
    * 6.40 K per 9, 2.81 BB per 9, 2.28 K:BB ratio, 16 home runs

Curt Schilling (Boston)

    * season: 21-6 226.2 IP (32 starts) 3.26 ERA 1.06 WHIP (150 ERA+)
    * 8.06 K per 9, 1.36 BB per 9, 5.8 K:BB ratio, 23 home runs

    * playoffs: 3-1 22.2 IP (4 starts) 3.57 ERA 1.23 WHIP
    * 13 K, 5 BB, 3 home runs

Padilla lost more of his control, becoming somewhat wild. This was probably due to the ever mysterious tendinitis to his elbow and arm. Schilling had another terrific season, and won another World Series ring, cementing himself in Red Sox lore as one of the major reasons they broke their `curse'. Curses are a crock, but Schilling's bloody sock in the World Series is a lasting memory for many.

Advantage: Schilling/Red Sox


The Phillies were 2nd place, again, this year, coming just short, again. While frustration mounted, Vicente Padilla proved to be inconsistent, first starting the season on the disabled list with lingering effects from his 2004 injury, then starting off pitching extremely wild, then pitching lights out for a time, and then ending the season as the Phillies did: frustrating. He was basically the personification of the Phillies, and perhaps this was why many fans disliked him. Curt Schilling also had lingering effects from injury, and suffered because of his inability to push off on his leg. Here is the sub-par season from both:

Vicente Padilla (Philadelphia/rehab assignment)

    * 9-12 147 IP (27 starts) 4.53 ERA 1.50 WHIP 96 WHIP (96 ERA+)
    * 6.31 K per 9, 4.53 BB per 9, 1.39 K:BB ratio, 22 home runs

Curt Schilling (Boston/rehab assignment)

    * 8-8 93.1 IP (32 G, 11 starts) 9 saves, 5.69 ERA 1.53 WHIP (77 ERA+)
    * 8.39 K per 9, 2.12 BB per 9, 3.95 K:BB ratio, 12 home runs

This was a tough year for both, but both of them improved as the season went along. Padila's ERA from month to month was 11.45, 4.71, 6.38, 3.10, 3.05, 4.91. His WHIP was similarily inconsistent. However, his pre/post all-star numbers show the stark contrast extremely well, with pre all-star numbers being 4-8 with a 6.27 ERA and 1.91 WHIP and his post all-star numbers being 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. His opponent's batting average dropped 100 points as well. So Padilla improved a vast amount over the course of the season, likely being due to finally feeling healthy and trusting his own stuff again. Schilling had a bad season, plain and simple. He still had his control in regards to walks, but he gave up so many hits that his ERA and WHIP suffered. Schilling improved through the course of the season as well, but nowhere near the level that Padilla did.

Advantage: Padilla/Phillies


Vicente Padilla was traded to the Texas Rangers for nothing (read: Ricardo Rodriguez) and Pat Gillick called the trade a mistake before one pitch was even thrown. Curt Schilling was finally fully recovered from his injury. Here is how the two have done thus far:

Vicente Padilla (Texas)

    * 10-6 128.1 IP (21 starts) 4.00 ERA 1.28 WHIP
    * 7.29 K per 9, 3.23 BB per 9, 2.26 K:BB ratio, 11 home runs

Curt Schilling (Boston)

    * 13-3 147.1 (22 starts) 3.60 ERA 1.09 WHIP
    * 8.12 K per 9, 1.10 BB per 9, 7.39 K:BB ratio, 19 home runs

Both of them are having fine seasons, but Schilling is outdoing Padilla thus far. Padilla's higher walk rate is the difference, because their opponent batting averages are similar, as is their strikeout rate. Padilla has even given up fewer dingers. However, Padilla has been on somewhat of a hot streak of late, sporting a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in July. What he's done is cut out the walks, and could have his first month with single-digit walks since April 2005 when he only pitched 11 innings.

Advantage: slightly Schilling, but trending Padilla

What does all this show? Ed Wade got one good piece in return for Curt Schilling in Vicente Padilla. He was a relatively young pitcher with a vibrant fastball and it looks as though he has finally harnessed it. It's just too bad that the Phillies don't have him anymore, or anything else from the trade. It probably would have been better to just not do any deal in the first place and actually have the owners commit to a payroll in 2000, rather than 3 years later. The Phillies probably would have made a playoff or two with Schilling at the helm leading the emerging players they were fielding. In the end this deal was a loser, but could have been salvagable if Padilla had been kept around for only 4.5 million dollars.

But so it goes.