There's a lot to be excited about with the Florida Marlins. They've just broken ground on a new stadium in Little Havana, they have one of the most dynamic players at a premium position in Hanley Ramirez and, after a sweep of the lowly San Diego Padres, are still very much in the hunt for both the NL East and Wild Card title.
This, of course, means the Marlins have some decisions to make with the July 31st trade deadline looming. History has shown us that the Marlins have not been afraid to make moves at the deadline that improve the team's chances, whether it be in the short or long term.
Here's a look back at a few of the more significant moves (or non-moves) at the deadline:
1) Trevor Hoffman traded to the San Diego Padres for Gary Sheffield (June 24, 1993)
While I know this isn't technically a trade deadline deal, it's still one of the first big deals in Marlins history.
Hoffman was then a 24-year old power reliever, while Sheffield was on his second team and was labeled as a troublemaker. In the long term, Sheffield went on to become a key player in the Marlins' 1997 World Series run, while Trevor Hoffman has put up ridiculous numbers as one of the finest closers ever to play the game, amassing 576 saves over 17 seasons.
2) Marlins Acquire RP Ugueth Urbina from the Texas Rangers for 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RP Ryan Snare & OF Will Smith (July 12, 2003)
This was, by definition, a short term, "win now" deal to shore up a shaky bullpen for a playoff run. Initially, the reason Urbina was brought over was to serve as a set-up man for then-closer Braden Looper.
However, as the Marlins made the push for the Wild Card, Urbina became the go-to guy en route to a World Series title.
In the long run, Gonzalez, a former first-round pick, was expendable, as he was blocked at first base by Derek Lee. Ultimately, he turned out to be one heck of a first baseman for the San Diego Padres, currently hitting .250 with 25 home runs and 54 RBI.
3) Marlins Acquire OF/1B Darren Daulton from the Philadelphia Phillies for OF Billy McMillon (July 21, 1997)
From a distance, this looks like a even trade. Daulton, on the steep decline by 1997, was brought on for a veteran presence in a platoon situation with Mr. Marlin himself, Jeff Conine. We all knows what happens during the 1997 season.
For the Phillies, this was a salary-dump move, as McMillon went on to do basically nothing for the Phillies. Daulton was expendable due to both chronic knee problems and his inability to beat out Rico Brogna for the starting job at first base.
4) Marlins Acquire 1B/OF Jeff Conine from the Baltimore Orioles for SP Denny Bautista & RP Don Levinski (September 1, 2003)
This deal falls into this category as it happened post-deadline, meaning Conine had to clear waivers. He provided depth and leadership on a Marlins team that had just seen Mike Lowell go down with a broken hand.
Replacing Miguel Cabrera in left field while Cabrera played third base, Conine was key in many of the Marlins' postseason pivotal games, en route to the team's second World Series title.
Bautista and Levinski ended up doing basically nothing, as Bautista was the only one of the two pitchers to reach the major league level.
At the time, this was seen as an absolute misstep by the Marlins' front office. The consensus was the young team, very much in the playoff hunt, needed a veteran presence and a power bat in the lineup. If it meant dealing the under-producing Hermida, I was all for it.
However, the sticking point was the Marlins' unwillingness to part ways with OF prospect Mike Stanton (named No. 2 prospect in organization by "Baseball America").
In the end, the deal doesn't happen and the Marlins don't make the playoffs. In the long run however, the Marlins were wise not to make the deal. While Hermida can still be labeled as a "bust" first-round draft pick, the media storm from Manny's 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, would have been enough to hurt the Marlins this season.
Will the Marlins make a splash at the deadline this year? While rumors have swirled about a deal for a relief pitcher (namely George Sherrill & Matt Capps), no one in the front office has hinted at anything being imminent.
If history is any indication, a flashy move is not in the cards. If anything, it'll be someone supplemental who can fill a role on this team. However, the Marlins will dictate what the front office will do with how they play over the next few days.
Stay tuned to find out.
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