A lot will be written in the coming hours, days and weeks (pending league approval) about how the Miami Marlins have gone too far this time in their attempt to cut costs. Noted swindler Jeffrey Loria will probably designate poor on-field performance as the motivation for his and general manager Michael Hill’s latest foray into the realm of selling off assets. In the Marlins latest turn as miscreant artists, it’s approximately $166 million in the form of Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck heading to Toronto in exchange for Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis and a trio of prospects. It’s familiar territory for the club.
Since the Florida/Miami Marlins franchise began to play in 1993, the club has claimed two World Series titles. The Marlins have infamously dismantled both of their championship teams shortly after those victories. Below is glossing over of the fire sales that took place following the 1997 and 2003 seasons.
In November of 1997, just weeks after defeating the Cleveland Indians in seven games to win the World Series, Wayne Huizenga and Dave Dombrowski began selling off most of the pieces that helped carry the team to its first title.
- Closer Robb Nen was traded to the San Francisco Giants
- Moises Alou was shipped to the Houston Astros
- Jeff Conine was traded to the Kansas City Royals
- Devon White was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks
- Al Leiter was traded to the New York Mets
- Kevin Brown was traded to the San Diego Padres
The Marlins retained several notable stars for the start of the 1998 campaign, but the trades continued well into the season. On May 15 the Marlins traded Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Manuel Barrios, and Jim Eisenreich to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile. Both Piazza and Zeile would be shipped out of Florida before the end of July. Piazza was sent to the New York Mets for Preston Wilson and couple of warm bodies, while Zeile was traded to the Texas Rangers.
To top it all off and erase nearly every memory of the club’s 1997 Championship, World Series hero Edgar Renteria was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Braden Looper, Armando Almanza and Pablo Ozuna following the ’98 season.
The Marlins captured their second World Series in 2003, knocking off the New York Yankees in six games, this time under the ownership/general manager combo of Loria and Larry Beinfest. This Marlins team succeeded on the strength of several pieces acquired directly from the ’97 fire sale (Derrek Lee via the Kevin Brown trade, Looper, and Juan Pierre who was acquired when the club traded Preston Wilson to Colorado) and indirectly (Mike Lowell was acquired from the New York Yankees and Josh Beckett was drafted with the 2nd overall pick in 1999 after a horrendous ’98 season). A.J. Burnett came to the Marlins in the Al Leiter trade, but he missed most of the 2003 season after undergoing elbow surgery.
Beinfest and Loria attempted to keep the club competitive for a couple of years after the 2003 Championship, but opted for the fire sale route once again following an 83-79 finish in the 2005 season. Here’s who was on the move in the seasons after 2003:
- Derrek Lee was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2003 for Hee-Seop Choi and PTBNL
- Carl Pavano and Ivan Rodriguez both left via free agency in 2004
- Brad Penny and Choi were traded to the Dodgers for Paul Lo Duca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota in 2004
- Antonio Alfonseca, Burnett, Conine, Encarnacion and Todd Jones all left via free agency in 2005
- In a pair of deals on November 24, 2005 the Marlins traded Carlos Delgado and Lo Duca to the Mets for Mike Jacobs and Yusmeiro Petit – they then shipped Lowell, Beckett and Mota to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and two other bodies
- Luis Castillo was later traded to the Minnesota Twins and Juan Pierre to the Chicago Cubs in a deal that netted Ricky Nolasco