Exactly two years ago, on August 23, 2011, the Arizona Diamondbacks traded the struggling Kelly Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Aaron Hill and John McDonald. Johnson was batting just .209 for the D-Backs and had a .287 OBP. The 29-year-old (at the time) seemed as though he needed a change of scenery – in a little over a month in Toronto, he raised his average to .222, including 6 multi-hit games in the last 14 games of the season.
Johnson, however, was not the only one who the trade paid dividends for. Hill, who was hitting .225 for the Blue Jays that season, finished the year batting .246 and helped his new team not only reach the playoffs, but win the National League West division. Today, the 31-year-old boasts an average of .312 to go along with 9 home runs and 34 RBIs.
McDonald, who has always been known for his glove rather than his bat, was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates before the start of this season. He currently serves as a bench player on the Philadelphia Phillies.
Ironically, exactly one year and one month before the deal, on July 23, 2010, Johnson hit for the cycle. Now a left fielder with the Tampa Bay Rays, the 31-year-old is hitting .256 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs. His team is in good position to make the playoffs. They sit one game behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East, and lead the wild-card race.
The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, are losing their hopes of catching a playoff berth with each passing day. They trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 9.5 games for first place in the NL West, and are 7 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second and final wild-card spot.