5. Jason Schmidt transforms into a star
Date: July 30, 2001
To Giants: RHP Jason Schmidt, OF John Vander Wal
To Pirates: RHP Ryan Vogelsong, OF Armando Rios
Originally acquired as a rental starter to aid in the 2001 postseason push, Jason Schmidt wound up re-signing with the Giants and emerging as one of the most dominant starters in the National League.
After posting a mediocre 4.61 ERA in 84 innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the trade, Schmidt immediately looked like a different pitcher in San Francisco, going 7-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 11 starts.
The Giants missed the playoffs but saw enough in Schmidt to sign him to a four-year, $30 million deal that included a $10.5 million option for 2006.
He played out the life of that contract in San Francisco and went 71-36 with a 3.35 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 1,000 strikeouts in 1,003.1 innings, while piling up 21.6 WAR.
Schmidt finished second in NL Cy Young voting in 2003 when he led the NL with a 2.34 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. The following year, he struck out a career-high 251 batters in 225 innings and finished fourth in Cy Young voting.
Ryan Vogelsong eventually found his way back to San Francisco, while Armando Rios posted -0.6 WAR in two seasons with the Pirates.
Similar to the Randy Winn trade, this would rank higher if Schmidt had made more of an impact in October. Still, it’s one of the better moves in recent franchise history.