July 31 is a very important date in Major League Baseball. It marks the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. When the clock strikes 4 p.m. ET on the last day of July, teams become restricted in the moves they can make. For example, trades can still take place in August, but the deals must be passed through waivers. Furthermore, teams are allowed to make trade deals in September, but the players acquired in these deals will be ineligible for the playoffs. In essence, July 31 has become the de facto deadline for deals. This makes it so crucial for teams that want to make a push for the playoffs to make a move before the strike of 4 p.m. Additionally, the end of July marks the last time a team can rid itself of an expiring contract before the player becomes a free agent at the end of the season. The biggest name left on the trading block falls under this category. Boston Red Sox ace Jon Lester has been rumored to be a prized trade option for several teams but has remained in Boston. With only a few hours left before the deadline, all eyes will be peeled to see where Lester will finish out the season. If he does get dealt on July 31, the move would rank as one of the biggest July 31 trades. So, in honor of the MLB trade deadline, here is a ranking of the top 10 July 31 deals from the last six years:
[new page = Ryan Dempster goes to the Rangers.]10. Ryan Dempster goes to the Rangers.Ryan Dempster goes to the Rangers in 2012. The Cubs receive Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks in return.
[new page = Shane Victorino goes to the Dodgers.]9. Shane Victorino goes to the Dodgers.After years with the Phillies, Shane Victorino goes to the Dodgers in 2011. Philadelphia gets Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin and a player to be named later.
[new page = Michael Bourn goes to the Braves.]8. Michael Bourn goes to the Braves.Michael Bourn goes to the Braves in 2011. Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens and Juan Abreu are sent to the Astros.
[new page = Ken Griffey Jr. goes to the White Sox.]7. Ken Griffey Jr. goes to the White Sox.Ken Griffey Jr. goes to the White Sox in 2008. The future Hall-of-Famer was traded for Nick Masset and Danny Richar.
[new page = Rafael Furcal goes to the Cardinals for Alex Castellanos.]6. Rafael Furcal goes to the Cardinals for Alex Castellanos.Rafael Furcal goes to the Cardinals in 2011. They go on to win the World Series. In the deal, the Dodgers get Alex Castellanos.
[new page = Hunter Pence goes to the Giants.]5. Hunter Pence goes to the Giants.After one calendar year in Philadelphia, Hunter Pence goes to the Giants in 2012. In return, the Phillies get Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin.
[new page = Jake Peavy sent to the White Sox.]4. Jake Peavy sent to the White Sox.Jake Peavy was sent to the White Sox in 2009 for Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard, Dexter Carter, Adam Russell. Peavy had won the 2007 Cy Young Award with San Diego.
[new page = Lance Berkman to the Yankees]3. Lance Berkman to the YankeesLance Berkman goes to the Yankees in 2010. Mark Melancon (the Pirates’ closer) and Jimmy Paredes are shipped to Houston. Berkman plays in New York for the remainder of the season before going to Saint Louis.
[new page = Victor Martinez goes to the Red Sox]2. Victor Martinez goes to the Red Sox Victor Martinez goes to the Red Sox in 2009. He hits .336 the rest of the season. Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price are sent to Cleveland.
[new page = Manny Ramirez goes to the Dodgers]1. Manny Ramirez goes to the DodgersManny Ramirez goes to the Dodgers in a blockbuster trade in 2008. Jason Bay goes to the Red Sox, and Andy LaRoche, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris are sent to the Pirates.