And since we are currently playing the Cubs, it is apropos.
Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton for.... nothing.
We gave the Cubs Ramirez and Kenny Lofton for Jose Hernandez (released at the end of 2003), Matt Bruback (lost on waivers to the Padres 3 months later after only 4 games at AAA, never pitched in the majors anyhow), and a player to be named later (Bobby Hill, who has been a marginal minors/majors guy at 29 years old).
Ramirez has gone on to average 35 home runs and 100 RBIs for the Cubs; Lofton has averaged over .300 since leaving the Bucs.
The rationale was that we couldn't afford to keep Ramirez; but we paid him $3M, and the Cubs paid him $6M in '04 (and $8.95M in '05, $10.75M in '06). $6M was what we paid Burnitz two years later. We basically refused to pay one of our own, a young guy up and coming, and then for the next three years threw MORE money at old, lousy guys!
Matt Lawton, $7.75M for 10hr and 46 RBIs in '05; Mark Redman, $4.5M to go 5-15 in '05; $3.175M for Kip Wells to go 8-18 in '05, $4.15M to go 1-5 in '06; $8.5M for Sean Casey to hit 3HR and 29 RBI in '06; $4M FOR JOE RANDA TO PLAY 55 GAMES, HIT 4 HOME RUNS, AND BAT IN 28 IN '06!!!!!
We couldn't afford Ramirez, but we sure could afford all the crap we bought after him, couldn't we? It's not like a star like Ramirez wouldn't have put games in the W column and fans in the seats, right? It's not like Lofton couldn't be on base at least as often as anyone else we replaced him with; Joe Randa, for example (at more money than Lofton has made since leaving the Bucs).
THAT is Littlefield's legacy. The man just had no vision, no eye for talent, no sense of continuity, no feel for franchise building. He had absolutely no idea what he was doing.
Sources for trade info, player data and salaries: http://www.baseball-reference.com