The worst trade in Miami Marlins history happened on December 4, 2007. It saw The Fish trade franchise cornerstone 1B Miguel Cabrera and SP Dontrelle Willis for a package of prospects headlined by SP Andrew Miller and CF Cameron Maybin. The Fish were unwilling to pay Cabrera more money as his salary was rising in arbitration, and the Detroit Tigers were willing to trade their top prospects to get the deal done.
The Miami Marlins made a disastrous franchise altering trade by trading Miguel Cabrera.
I strongly recommend reading this piece about how the trade went down.
Here’s what then GM David Samson said about the trade:
"“We knew very well that we had no ballpark deal, we had no prospects of increased revenue. The only chance we had of keeping the franchise going was to cut the payroll. And in order to cut the payroll and try to be competitive, you had to have young players playing really well making $300k-400k.“It was simple—it was not even a big discussion because it was a non-starter to keep Cabrera through his next year because he would lose value each year.”"
The Miami Marlins were unable to get a new stadium at the time, so then owner Jeffrey pretended that MIAMI was a “small market” and that the team needed to cut costs. This meant trading Miguel Cabrera. It’s sad to see Samson going along with this false narrative.
Samson gloats about how the Miami Marlins acquired two top prospects from Detroit, but not locking up the 24 year old future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera was embarrassing. Jeffrey Loria is remembered as arguably the worst owner ever and this trade was a prime example of that.
It’s bad enough that neither Miller or Maybin worked out for the Miami Marlins, and ended up turning into busts (Miller did eventually emerge as an elite reliever in other teams), but the fan base lost a lot of faith in the team and it cost The Fish money in fan attendance and merchandise sales. It was a disaster no matter how you look at it.
Let’s see how the trade worked out in WAR…The Miami Marlins received: RHP Dallas Trahern: 0 WAR, RP Burke Badenhop:1.9 WAR, SP Andrew Miller: -2.5 WAR, CF Cameron Maybin: 1.9 WAR and RHP Frankie De La Cruz: -0.9 WAR. That’s a total of 0.4 WAR.
Detroit received 1B Miguel Cabrera: 50.4 WAR (so far) and SP Dontrelle Willis: -1.1 WAR. Detroit’s total is 49.3 WAR. Putting it together Detroit won by 48.9 WAR.