For the final month of the season, I’ll be posting a slightly different set of trade retrospectives. In 1997, the Marlins, under owner Wayne Huizenga, won the whole thing, taking the World Series in 7 games in a walk-off victory over the Cleveland Indians. The team had assembled quite a collection of talented players, with Edgar Renteria, Bobby Bonilla, Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield anchoring the lineup and Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Livan Hernandez, and Robb Nen anchoring the pitching staff. However, the team was for sale, and had been prior to the championship. From Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, on the morning after the victory:
The Marlins are in danger of being dismantled. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga put the club up for sale last summer and — even though the Marlins reached the World Series — figures to decrease the payroll this winter.
Well, it didn’t take all that long, and the pieces started falling pretty quickly. These posts will not be just surrounding 1 trade, but rather the whole of the work related to this firesale. You can find Part 1 of the series here, Part 2 here, and this part covers the trades made through the start of the season.
The Moving Pieces
In New York, Al Leiter was slotted into the starting rotation, and Ralph Milliard was slotted in as the starting 2B for their AAA team.
What Happened Next
In New York, Al Leiter went 17-6 with a 2.47 ERA in 193 innings pitched for the Mets. Ralph Milliard received a late-season call up for the Mets, and appeared in 10 games but only got 1 at bat in 1998.
In Florida, Burnett went 10-4 with a 1.97 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 119 innings pitched. Sanchez went 7-9 with a 4.47 ERA in 173 innings for the Marlins.
The Net Moves
NY Mets – First Level
- Al Leiter spent 7 seasons in Flushing, posting a 95-67 record with a 3.42 ERA. He threw 1360 innings total, striking out 1106 batters and helping lead the Mets to two playoff appearances in his time there. He left via free agency after the 2004 season.
- Ralph Milliard only played in 1998 in the Majors for the Mets, and was out of the organization in 1999.
Florida – First Level
- Jesus Sanchez spent 4 seasons in Florida, mostly in the starting rotation. He posted a 23-34 record with a 5.06 ERA and 368 strikeouts in 494 innings pitched. He was traded on December 11, 2001 to the Cubs for Nate Teut.
- A.J. Burnett spent 7 seasons in Florida entirely in the starting rotation. He posted a 49-50 record with a 3.73 ERA and 753 strikeouts in 853 2/3 innings pitched. He left via free agency on October 27, 2005, and signed with the Blue Jays. The Marlins received 2 compensation draft picks for this, which they used to draft Chris Coghlan and Torre Langley.
- I honestly can’t find any information about Robert Stratton, as the Baseball Reference page links to a player who played in the early 1970s.
Florida – Second Level
- Nate Teut only made 2 major league appearances with the Marlins (or any team for that matter). He was released by the Marlins on 4/15/03.
- Torre Langley is currently in the minor leagues with the Phillies, after spending the previous 3 seasons in the Marlins minor league system.
- Chris Coghlan has appeared in 219 games so far for the Marlins, hitting. 299/.367/.428 with 14 homeruns, 75 runs batted in, and 18 stolen bases. He also won the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year award.
The clear piece of most value to the Marlins was A.J. Burnett, which is still a lot more of a return than the players that they got in return for a lot of their other stars. Leiter became one of the more famous players for the Mets, and ended up being known for representing the Mets. Burnett gave them 7 seasons with a lot of inconsistency, but a lot of upside as well, and the draft picks he netted the team when he left definitely helped to bring in current talent in Chris Coghlan. This is one of the few trades that went well for the Marlins overall.
The last post in this series will be up next Saturday, and will cover the trades made through the 1998 season and part of the 1998-1999 off season.