When it comes to pulling off a trade, three is sometimes not a crowd but a necessity.
While almost all deals involve two teams working out an exchange, sometimes the addition of a third brings some previously absent element into the mix that allows everyone to get what they want. It also makes things a bit more complicated, and perhaps more exciting, for fans, as they try to figure out who got the upper hand.
With that in mind, here is a look back at 11 of the most significant three-way trades from recent history -- plus a bonus four-teamer:
July 30, 2019: Bauer out of Cleveland
INDIANS GOT: Yasiel Puig (from CIN), Franmil Reyes (from SD), Logan Allen (from SD), Victor Nova (from SD), Scott Moss (from CIN)
PADRES GOT: Taylor Trammell (from CIN)
REDS GOT: Trevor Bauer (from CLE)
A day before the 2019 Trade Deadline, and six years after Bauer arrived in Cleveland in another three-team trade (see below), he left the Indians in the same manner. Looking to cash in on their All-Star right-hander before he entered his final season of club control, Cleveland sent him to Cincinnati while bolstering its outfield with a pair of heavy hitters: Puig and Reyes. While Puig became a free agent after the 2019 season, the 24-year-old Reyes could be a part of the Indians outfield for years to come. Allen also gives the Tribe a potentially long-term rotation piece with Bauer heading out the door. Meanwhile, the Padres traded from their Major League outfield depth to take a chance on a younger outfielder, Trammell, MLB Pipeline's No. 30 prospect at the time of the deal.
Dec. 13, 2018: Switching sluggers
INDIANS GOT: Carlos Santana (from SEA), Jake Bauers (TB)
MARINERS GOT: Edwin Encarnación (from CLE), competitive balance pick, cash
RAYS GOT: Yandy Díaz (CLE), Cole Sulser (CLE)
As part of their offseason restructuring, the Mariners took Santana as part of a deal with the Phillies, then flipped him (and the two guaranteed seasons left on his contract) for Encarnación (and his one season). Meanwhile, the Indians reunited with Santana, who had been a big part of the team's success before signing with Philly after 2017. This deal also featured an intriguing exchange of talented but relatively unproven young hitters, with Bauers going to Cleveland and Díaz to Tampa Bay. Santana made his first All-Star team in '19, while Encarnación had only a short stint in Seattle before being traded again, to the Yankees.
July 30, 2015: A baker's dozen
BRAVES GOT: Héctor Olivera (from LAD), Paco Rodríguez (LAD), Zachary Bird (LAD), competitive balance pick (MIA)
DODGERS GOT: Alex Wood (ATL), José Peraza (ATL), Bronson Arroyo (ATL), Luis Avilán (ATL), Jim Johnson (ATL), Mat Latos (MIA), Mike Morse (MIA)
MARLINS GOT: Victor Araujo (LAD), Kevin Guzman (LAD), Jeff Brigham (MIA)
This ludicrously complicated deal stands out more for its sheer size and strangeness than any impact it had on the field. Of the 13 players involved, Wood provided far and away the most production for his acquiring team, becoming a key rotation piece in L.A. for three-plus seasons before being traded to the Reds. Notably, Peraza became part of another three-team deal less than six months later, going to Cincinnati as part of a transaction that also involved the White Sox acquiring Todd Frazier.