On this date in Miami Marlins history, the club picked up a unique talent from the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 2012, the Marlins traded Yunel Escobar to their in-state rivals for super-utility Derek Dietrich. Initially selected in the third round of the 2007 draft by the Houston Astros, Dietrich didn’t sign a contract until the Rays picked him in the second three years later.
When Miami fans think of Dietrich, we think of a guy who could play first, second, third, and left field. We also think of his particularly well-honed skillset of getting to first base in the most painful way. His 93 HBP in six seasons with Miami was just par for the course for Dietrich. As a junior with the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in 2010, he collected 21 HBP in only 62 games. In 2016 with Miami, he led the National League with 24.
But Dietrich could hit, too. Although nobody would confuse Dietrich for a patient hitter, with his 3.34 K/BB over his time with Miami, he also went deep 60 times. He peaked in his final season with the team, clubbing 16 in 2018. And who could ever forget this:
Of course, Dietrich went on to vie for the N.L. lead in homers in 2019 with the Cincinnati Reds, for a time at least. He collected 19 before cooling off due to injury, eventually hitting .187 in just 251 at bats. True to form, he also scored a career-high 25 HBP, to help bring his OBP to a more respectable .328.
Dietrich’s overall 4.8 WAR ranks him amongst the Top 50 on the Marlins all-time leaderboard, at number 45 (including pitchers).
Other Marlins Transactions on this Date
2003 – Florida resigned infielder Mike Mordecai to a one-year deal. After hitting .286 in a 38-game look with Florida, management felt like the then-35-year-old had a few tricks left up his sleeve. Although the 5’11” Birmingham native hit just .213 in 2003, he was also called on to fill in at all four infield positions on the club’s way to their second World Series title.
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2005 – The Marlins traded then all-star catcher Paul Lo Duca to the New York Mets for a “Player To Be Named Later.” Eventually, that PTBNL turned out to be two minor leaguers, Dante Brinkley and Gaby Hernandez. Neither ever made the majors, while Lo Duca made his second straight all-star appearance.
2011 – Shortstop Jose Reyes signed a six-season deal with Miami, and went on to hit .287 in 160 games. After stealing 390 bases for the Mets over the prior nine seasons, Reyes stole another 40 for the Fish, along with 12 triples and 11 home runs. Maybe most impressively, he drew 63 walks while striking out only 56 times.
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