Throughout the history of the game and the history of sports, there have been over a million trades done which have forever changed the direction of a sports franchise or landscape forever. You can call it the butterfly effect because thats what it is, a small trade here and there can cause big changes later on (managerial changes, free agent signings, new stadium, or even a World Series).
In the case of the Florida Marlins, a Major League Baseball franchise that has been around since 1993, they have won a couple of World Series (1997 and 2003). The little known story behind both of those titles have been the trades they made in order to win them. I'll chronicle that here and run down over the trades that forever changed the Florida Marlins and made up what they are today.
Without these trades, this franchise, would not be here right now. In the spirit of the Trade Deadline and trades period here are those trades that have forever this MLB franchise, the Florida Marlins...
The first trade the Florida Marlins made was also the one that decided this very franchise's fate and another ones as well in a big way.
The Trade: On June 24, 1993, the Marlins traded Andres Berumen, Jose Martinez, and Trevor Hoffman to the San Diego Padres for Gary Sheffield and Rich Rodriguez. The trade wasn't well received by Padre fans as they felt hey had a solid core with Tony Gwynn and Fred McGriff and didn't even know who in the world Trevor Hoffman was.
Aftermath: Trevor Hoffman turned out to be a future Hall of Fame closer for the San Diego Padres for 16 seasons as he recorded 552 saves in that span. Hoffman's Padres made the World Series in 1998 but lost to the New York Yankees.
Gary Sheffield became power hitting outfielder for the Florida Marlins, who propelled the Fish to a World Series title in 1997 and still holds the franchise record for home runs in a single season with 42. Sheffield is also a potential Hall of Famer who has said he would go Cooperstown in a Marlins cap.
One pictures speaks a thousand words and this one is no exception. The Marlins made a trade at the deadline to acquire help when they were competing for a title in 1997. This was the first year in the franchise's history where they were in serious contention and thus they made one of the most important moves on this day.
The Trade: On July 27, 1997, the Marlins dealt pitcher Mark Hutton to the Colorado Rockies for infielder Craig Counsell. This wasn't the sexiest of trade moves that make front page headlines that season. In fact, Counsell had only played a single game for the Rockies before that trade while Hutton was an average reliever who had a 3.78 ERA in 32 appearances.
Aftermath: Mark Hutton was a bust for Colorado, amassing a 7.11 ERA in 8 games. On the other hand, Craig Counsell was not. Counsell became a regular for the Marlins in the second half on their way to the postseason and World Series for the first time in franchise history. The spark plug infielder hit .415 in the NLDS and NLCS but struggled in the World Series, hitting .182 (4-22), yet at the end it didn't matter. Counsell hit a sac fly to tie Game 7 of the 1997 World Series 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th to win the World Series.
After the Marlins won the World Series, then owner Wayne Huizenga dismantled the entire team in the franchise's first fire sale. One of the moves made by the Marlins involved their ace Kevin Brown who had 33 wins and a 2.30 ERA in two seasons with the Marlins.
The Trade: On December 15, 1997, the Marlins traded their ace Kevin Brown to the San Diego Padres for Rafael Medina and 1B Derrek Lee.
Aftermath: In yet another move between San Diego and Florida that translated to World Series appearance, Kevin Brown pitched well for San Diego becoming their ace and amassing 18 wins and a 2.38 ERA. Brown's Padres made it to the World Series against the New York Yankees who beat the Padres.
Meanwhile, Derrek Lee would become a rising star with the Florida Marlins although it wasn't until 2003 when the full impact of this trade would be felt. Lee hit 31 HR's with 92 RBI's and had Gold Glove as the Marlins made the postseason for the second time in franchise history.
Although Lee didn't have great postseason hitting .215 with 1 HR and 8 RBI's, the Marlins won the World Series against the New York Yankees in 6 games.
As part of the Florida Marlins 1997-1998 offseason fire sale, the Marlins stripped their roster to the bone and enraged many fans in South Florida after this team had won the title. It had been bitter sweet to say the least but almost the entire roster was gone when the Fish received their rings the following season.
The Trade: On February 6, 1998, the Marlins traded pitcher Al Leiter and second baseman Ralph Milliard to the New York Mets for young fireballer AJ Burnett and lefty Jesus Sanchez. Both of the Marlins returns were minor leaguers who had yet to make their debut while Al Leiter was yet another valuable piece to the Marlins 1997 World Series run and hurled the franchise's first no-hitter on May 11, 1996.
Aftermath: Al Leiter would go on to pitch 7 seasons (95-67 and 3.42 ERA) with the New York Mets helping the reach the World Series in 2000 against the New York Yankees, which ended up in a loss.
Meanwhile, AJ Burnett developed into a solid pitcher for the Marlins, more so in 2002 with a 3.30 ERA, seven complete games (five shutouts). Burnett would miss the remainder of the 2003 season after only pitching four games but his injury paved the way for another pitcher to take his place and win Rookie of the Year and the lead the Marlins to a World Series, his name, Dontrelle Willis.
In pretty much what turned out to be a minor trade, the Yankees dealt their September call-up Mike Lowell for two minor league pitchers. The trade while it didn't work out right away for both sides has been a major one in the history of the Marlins.
The Trade: The Marlins traded pitchers Mark Johnson and Ed Yarnell to the New York Yankees for third baseman Mike Lowell.
Aftermath: Johnson and Yarnell were non factors for the Yankees while Lowell would be for the Marlins. Lowell would hit 143 home runs in seven seasons which is currently the franchise record. Lowell's stellar play would give him three trips to the All-Star game from 2002-2004 and earn him a Gold Glove in 2005. Not to mention that World Series title in 2003.
The Marlins were headed towards another poor season and decided to unload their closer Matt Mantei to the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects, understandably so. The Marlins would end up with the worst record in MLB and that would open the door for them to pick first in the 2000 MLB Draft and pick Adrian Gonzalez.
The Trade: The Arizona Diamondbacks traded minor leaguer Brad Penny along with Vladimir Nunez and Abraham Nunez for closer Matt Mantei.
Aftermath: Matt Mantei would undergo Tommy-John Surgery in 2001, the year the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series. He would not get a ring and ironically Mantei did not pitch the 1997 season with the Marlins when they had won the World Series after making his debut in 1995.
The Marlins would greatly benefit from this deal as Brad Penny became the Marlins starter in 2000 and would end up coming big as a 14 game winner in 2003. In the postseason, Penny struggled a bit in the NLDS and NLCS but ending being the winning pitcher in Game 7 of NLCS. In the World Series, Penny won two games and had a 2.19 ERA in two starts.
Under new a front office regime, the Marlins continued it's unloading of their players. This time the Marlins pulled off a deal right before the start of the season no less and acquired a throw-in that forever changed the Marlins franchise.
The Trade: The Marlins traded pitchers Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca to the Chicago Cubs for minor league pitcher Dontrelle Willis, journeyman Julian Tavarez, pitcher Jose Cueto, and catcher Ryan Jorgenson.
Aftermath: Alfonseca was the Marlins primary closer and Clement had only spent a season with the Marlins before being dealt. Clement became a better starter as a Chicago Cub going 12-11 with 3.60 ERA and three complete games (two shutouts). Alfonseca saved 19 games in his first season as a Cub but struggled in 2003 (his last season in Chicago). Clement would go on to pitch two additional seasons including a trip to the NLCS to face his former team the Marlins where his team felt short.
On the other side of the trade, Tavarez only pitched a single season with the Fish amassing a 5.39 ERA and going 10-12. Meanwhile, Dontrelle Willis would remain in the minor leagues for the 2002 season. It was only after an injury to fireballer AJ Burnett in the 2003 season that Willis was called up and deliver. Willis ended up saving the Marlins in 2003 and became one of the many reasons why the Marlins won the World Series that season. Dontrelle Willis won Rookie of the Year going 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA, he was a Cy Young award runner-up in 2005 and became a member of the Black Aces with 22-10 record.
As the Montreal Expos were in contention in the 2002 season, they dealt their struggling right hander for help on the offensive end. The Marlins gave up a one of their remaining pieces from the 1997 World Series team and acquired what happened to be the best acquisition they could make it. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was formerly the owner of the Expos so he knew a thing or two about Carl Pavano.
The Trade: The Marlins traded Cliff Floyd, Wilton Guerrero, and Claudio Vargas to the Expos for Carl Pavano, Graeme Lloyd, Mike Mordecai, and Justin Wayne.
Aftermath: Carl Pavano turned his 2002 season around by pitching primarily as a reliever. He has a 3.79 ERA with a 3-2 record versus his 3-8 , 6.30 ERA as an Expo. Pavano was clutch in the playoffs (2.23 ERA), hurling eight innings (allowing a single run) in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series against the New York Yankees.
The other piece of the deal, Mike Mordecai hit .286 in 38 games after the 2002 deal, becoming a solid return in that deal. Furthermore, Mordecai came up big in the 2003 playoffs and was clutch at a time where the backs were against the wall for the Fish.
In the infamous Game 6 of the NLCS, the Marlins were five outs from being eliminated by the Cubs, when Steve Bartman reached over and prevented a foul ball from becoming an out. After that, Mordecai's three-run double broke the game open in an 8-run 8th inning that is known as one of the worst moments in Cubs history as The Inning.
As for the Expos, they would finish at 83-79 for the 2002 season as the Cliff Floyd trade would prove to be a bad one. Floyd played only 15 games and hit .208 before being dealt to the Boston Red Sox for Sun Woo Kim.
This trade ended up being rather odd for many reasons. First, the Marlins, who had their best season since their World Series clincher in '97, made a trade with the Colorado Rockies to acquire one of the highest paid pitchers in Mike Hampton. Yet Hampton was dealt a couple days later for another pitcher, Tim Spooneybarger and the Marlins were on the hook for his salary for next few seasons.
The Trade: On November 17, 2002, the Marlins acquired a speedster in Juan Pierre along with Mike Hampton in exchange for catcher Charles Johnson, outfielder Preston Wilson, pitcher Vic Darensboug, and infielder Pablo Ozuna.
Aftermath: The Marlins obviously had to take Hampton's contract to acquire Juan Pierre their main choice. Juan Pierre would prove to be crucial in helping the Marlins in their World Series run of 2003. Pierre spent three seasons with the Marlins stealing 167 bases and hitting .303. Some would argue that Pierre has been the best leadoff hitter for the Marlins in their history for his base stealing ability and for rarely striking out. He walked more (141) than he struck out (115) in three seasons with the Fish.
Meanwhile, the Rockies would inherit a big bat in Wilson who hit 36 HR's and drove in 141 RBI's in the hitters paradise known as Coors Field, that is before the Humidor Era. Wilson would struggle and get injured in 2004 before being traded midseason to the Washington Nationals in 2005.
Charles Johnson had a solid first season hitting .230 with 20 HR's and 61 RBIs but the Humidor Era really kicked in and Johnson's numbers fell to 13 HR's before playing one more season in 2005 with Tampa Bay and retiring.
Needing a lights out reliever to help the Marlins in their run to the playoffs and hopefully the World Series, the Marlins traded one of their top prospects and to bolster their bullpen with Urbina who was the American League saves leader at the time with 26. The Texas Rangers will in a commitment to get younger while they dealt an expiring contract.
The Trade: On July 11, 2003, The Marlins traded minor league first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (#1 overall pick in 2000 MLB Draft) along with Ryan Snare and Will Smith to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Ugueth Urbina.
Aftermath: Adrian Gonzalez would play two seasons with the Texas Rangers from 2004-2005 hitting a total of 7 HR's and accumulating a .229 average. Considered a bust, he was dealt to the San Diego Padres where he currently is one of their best players.
And well Urbina, you know the rest, Urbina had a 1.41 ERA and 6 saves in 33 appearances. His ERA was tremendously lower than the 4.19 he had in Texas and ended up being the most important reason the Marlins made it to the playoffs that season. He had 4 saves in the playoffs with a 3.46 ERA and if you ask anyone, this was one of the most important trades in Marlins history.
With their third baseman Mike Lowell injured, the Marlins made an immediate last ditch effort to acquire a replacement, they traded for a former Marlin in the process and dealt a minor leaguer for a push. This trade would prove to be just as big if not bigger than Urbina deal because Conine came up big.
The Trade: On August 31, 2003, the final day any trades could be made in regular season with waivers, the Marlins traded minor league pitcher Denny Bautista to the Marlins for Jeff Conine.
Aftermath: Jeff Conine had a solid September with the Fish in 2003, hitting 5 HRs in 25 games but it was his performance in the playoffs that was significant. Conine hit .353 (.458 in NLCS and .333 in the World Series) with a home run 5 RBIs.
Denny Bautista had an ERA of 36.00 in two games as an Oriole in 2004.
In the midst of trading their regular players from the 2005 regular season when the Marlins fell short in getting funded for a new stadium, the Marlins dealt their World Series MVP and Gold Glove third baseman for prospects no one barely knew in South Florida. It angered many but it looks like this has been the fairest of deals in baseball history. Mind you this trade was made without Theo Epstein at the helm.
The Trade: The Marlins traded former World Series MVP Josh Beckett, Gold Glove third baseman Mike Lowell, and reliever Guillermo Mota to the Boston Red Sox for top shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez, and pitchers Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia.
Aftermath The Boston Red Sox were coming off a disappointing 2005 season failing to repeat as champs and made a deal that would assure them of an ace in Josh Beckett after losing Pedro Martinez to free agency. Beckett would deliver in 2007 when the Red Sox made it to the World Series. He went 2-0 went a 1.93 ERA in the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians winning ALCS MVP and struck out nine batters in seven innings of Game 1 of the World Series which Boston went on to win. His teammate since 2001, Mike Lowell went on to win World Series MVP that year and has bounced back from his dreadful final season with the Fish.
On the Marlins end, they obtained shortstop Hanley Ramirez who won Rookie of the Year honors with 185 hits, 119 runs, 11 triples, and 51 SBs along with seven leadoff HRs which is a franchise record for a single season. Ramirez set many other records becoming the only National Rookie to have 110+ runs and 50+ stolen bases. He has emerged as one of the top position players in MLB and some have called him the best position in the game.
Anibal Sanchez was called up in 2006 and pitched nicely with a 10-3 record and a 2.83 ERA including pitching a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sanchez was plagued by injuries in 2007 and 2008 but has returned back to his old form lately.
The Marlins continued their unloading in the 2005 offseason when they traded fan favorite Juan Pierre to the Chicago Cubs for a trio of pitchers, who again were unheard of in South Florida. It was a torturing process like many of the earlier trades in franchise history after the World Series in 1997 but this one may have gone the Marlins way.
The Trade: The Marlins dealt Juan Pierre to the Chicago Cubs for Ricky Nolasco, Sergio Mitre, and Renyel Pinto.
Aftermath: Juan Pierre played a single season on the North Side of the Chicago with 3 HRs and 58 SBs before leaving for Los Angeles as a free agent.
The Marlins acquired Nolasco who has become one of the Marlins more reliable starters with over 50 wins since 2006 (not including injury riddled 2007 season). Mitre stayed with the Marlins for two seasons but was let go after struggling in his tenure with the Fish. Pinto was the Marlins lefty reliever until a string of bad outings in 2010 gave him his release.
With their salaries going up, the Marlins dealt their final two players from the 2003 World Series squad and ended up with prospects from the Detroit Tigers. The deal was made coming off a disappointing 2007 season and the fact that Cabrera was going to demand a nine figure deal like he got once he was traded to Detroit. The Marlins had yet to get approved for funding for a stadium at the time the deal was made although they were close to.
The Trade: The Marlins traded Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers for Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mike Rabelo, Burke Badenhop, Dallas Trahern, and Eulogio De La Cruz.
Aftermath: Dontrelle Willis disappointed in his time as a Tiger and after signing a three year, $29 million deal. Willis was designated for assignment in 2010 after accumulating a 6.86 ERA in 24 games from '07 to 2010. His now former teammate Miguel Cabrera has been one of the best hitters in the American League and is a MVP and Triple Crown contender.
For the Marlins, Cameron Maybin has had his ups and downs. Maybin burst onto the scene in 2008 hitting .500 (16-32) in 8 games. But has struggled to get going in 2009 and 2010 with slow starts and a few shoulder troubles.
Andrew Miller has been up and down with the Marlins since his arrival with his command issues and hasn't been up in the majors in 2010. Burke Badenhop has been the Marlins spot starter and long reliever since his arrival.
Trades always change the complexion of a franchise for the rest of their lives. As you could see with these trades, one led to another and another and led to success on two occasions. In the case of the Marlins, one fire sale ended up being their riches in 2003 with a series of trades made through out a span of 6 years. One trade or in this case, domino fell causing another one to fall or (trade to be executed) in order to continued with the goal of winning it all.
The Marlins made another fire sale, which the organization calls "Market Correction", they got rid of the remaining players from the World Series after they couldn’t get stadium funding assured by the State via free agency or trades. This included Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre, Miguel Cabrera, and Dontrelle Willis.
These moves have helped bring in a new wave of talent in the way of Hanley Ramirez (won ROY in ’06), Dan Uggla (two time All-Star), Anibal Sanchez (pitched a no-hitter in 2006), Josh Johnson (who came up in 2005), reining Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan (supplemental pick after losing AJ Burnett), Michael Stanton, Ricky Nolasco, and the list goes on and on and perhaps these trades could reel in another big catch in the way of another World Series title for the soon to be named Miami Marlins.