Over on CBS Sports Mike Axisa has done a bests/worsts series for each MLB franchise. Last week he took a look at some of the memorable moments in Marlins franchise history, including the good and the bad. Over the next week, we’ll start to go over some of the moments and see our viewers thoughts on Mike’s picks for the Marlins.
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- Gary Sheffield or Mark Buehrle, will either Marlin make the Hall of Fame?
- Why don’t we see more dynasties? Part 3
Today, we’ll go over a trade for a third baseman. The Marlins are notoriously known for making one of the worst trades in MLB history that sent future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.
However, the Marlins have also made one great trade, acquiring a third baseman that went on to become one of the best Marlins ever. That third baseman was none other than Mike Lowell.
"This was an old school baseball trade. The Yankees had a third base prospect in Lowell that they didn’t need — Scott Brosius was coming off a 98 RBI, 121 OPS+, 5.3 WAR season in 1998 — and the Marlins had some spare pitching prospects, so the two clubs got together for a “trade from surplus, fill a need” swap. Lowell went to the Marlins in February 1999 for three pitching prospects: RHP Todd Noel, RHP Mark Johnson and RHP Ed Yarnall.Noel never reached the big leagues. Johnson, who spent the entire 1999 season in the minors, was lost in the Rule 5 Draft after the season and had a 7.50 ERA in 24 innings for the Tigers in 2000, his only MLB action. Yarnall had a 5.40 ERA in 20 innings with New York from 1999-2000, his only big league time. He was pitching in Japan by 2001.Lowell, meanwhile, turned into an above-average regular with Marlins, hitting .272/.339/.462 (109 OPS+) with 143 homers and 14.1 WAR while with the team from 1999-2005. During his peak, he hit .285/.358/.517 (127 OPS+) with 59 homers and 7.0 WAR from 2003-04. Lowell went to three All-Star Games with the Marlins, won a Gold Glove, and finished 11th in the NL MVP voting in 2003. Easy win for our good guys here."
While the trade with the Red Sox that brought over Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, and Jesus Delgado for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota certainly has its merits as the best trade in Marlins history, it’s hard to argue with a trade that brought over a World Champion and you gave up two prospects that no one ever heard of again.
Looking for more details on the trade, I actually dug up an article by ESPN’s Buster Olney, who then worked for the New York Times. Here’s what he had to say about Lowell at the time of the trade.
"Lowell, a third baseman who turns 25 this month, had been regarded as a marginal prospect before the 1997 season, when he slugged 30 homers in 135 games. Then, last year, after a terrific spring-training performance, he batted .304 with 26 homers and 99 runs batted in for Class AAA Columbus, and went 4 for 15 in eight games with the Yankees."
Mike Lowell has to be one of the bigger success stories in major league baseball history, as he overcame not only being a 22nd round pick, but also testicular cancer. The cancer was actually discovered on Feburary 19th when Lowell underwent a routine spring training physical.
Instead of rehashing the story about Mike’s cancer discovery and recovery, I’ll let you hear the story straight from Lowell:
Mike Lowell is one the best Marlins players, ever. His success story is even more remarkable than his actual career story. For this reason, I do agree with Mike Axisa that the Lowell trade has to go down as the best trade in Marlins franchise history.
What do you guys think about this being the best trade in the teams history? What about your thoughts on what Mike Lowell meant to the franchise? Drop your thoughts off in the comment section.