St. Louis Cardinals: Ranking the 10 best trades in the last 20 years
9. August 2, 2001: St. Louis Cardinals get Williams and begin building.
Cardinals Receive: Woody Williams
Padres Receive: Ray Lankford
Not many people remember Woody Williams. Following this trade, Williams played very well for the Cardinals, going 7-1 in 11 starts and posting a clean 2.28 ERA and .973 WHIP to finish the 2001 season. He lasted for four years in St. Louis, posting a solid 45-22 record 3.53 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over 588.2 innings with the Cardinals, and helped get the team to its first World Series in 17 years.
Lankford was 34 when he got traded, and his departure from St. Louis did not help him age gracefully. He lasted just three years with the Padres, one of which he sat out with a hamstring injury, and hit only .244 in the games he played. He would return to the St. Louis Cardinals following he tenure with the Padres, which only adds to the upside of this trade.
While Williams would be out of St. Louis when the Cardinals won their first title in 24 years, he certainly played an indirect part in getting them there.