Twenty years ago, the Marlins acquired a helpful piece to their team's early development and their 1997 World Series championship team. On December 20, 1993, the Marlins traded away a speedy young minor league outfielder named Kerwin Moore in exchange for a little known infielder named Kurt Abbott.
With the departure of shortstop Walt Weiss, the Marlins were looking to add infield depth and competition for the job of replacing Weiss. Due to the Marlins outfield being set for the 1994 season, intriguing outfield talent Kerwin Moore was available. From the A's side, they too enjoyed depth, but it was in the infield, which made Abbott easily available, especially since he was getting lost in their deep organization, a team still amongst the top tier teams in MLB at the time. Adding that the A's were looking for younger outfield organizational depth, it made the situation ripe for a trade between the two teams.
With Kerwin Moore, the A's were getting an enigma in the outfield. Moore was one of the fastest talents and best base-stealers in the minors and pro baseball as a whole. He had stolen 231 bases in his previous four full minor league seasons. He also had the patience of a leadoff hitter with 396 bases-on-balls and an OBP of well over .350 during that span (coming off a .405 OBP that season). However, Moore had a difficulty with hitting the ball. Moore struck out 481 times and had a .235 batting average during that same span. For the A's, their stature in the game during that time, made Moore worth the risk to them. The thought of Moore potentially gaining knowledge of the game from future Hall of Famer, Rickey Henderson, and from quality base-stealing outfielder, Stan Javier, made the situation even more favorable. Therefore, the A's were all in for this perceptually minor trade.
However, the A's would not reap any benefits from acquiring Moore in this trade. Moore would go on to play in only 22 MLB games - all in 1996. He would have 18 plate appearances, 16 at-bats, score four runs, have one MLB hit (a double), and have one stolen base. He struck out six times and walked twice. After 1996, he played a year in an independent league before returning to the A's organization in 1998 for a season in Double A. He played his final time in organized ball in an independent league in 1999.
For the Marlins, this trade was a clear win. While Kurt Abbott, a former 15th round draft pick, was easily lost in the A's organization, he was easily found to be an asset in the Marlins organization. He took advantage of his opportunities almost immediately starting in 1994. He won the starting shortstop job as a rookie and posted a season with 9 HRs, 33 RBI, and a .249 batting average in 345 at-bats - respectable numbers for a rookie shortstop in 1994. The very next season, Kurt Abbott stepped up further with another quality season and led all NL shortstops in HRs with 17 (2nd in MLB). He also had 60 RBI - also among the best totals by shortstops in MLB that year.
Abbott would hold the starting shortstop job until the next season when he lost the job to a young shortstop from Colombia named Edgar Renteria. Despite losing the starting role, Abbott was still helpful to the Marlins. He would start the next chapter of his career as a quality infield utility player. He started this when, after losing the shortstop job to Renteria, Abbott was tried at third base and then started to be moved over to second base as well. He then became a key infield bench combination with Alex Arias. In 1997, Abbott had the lead role at covering second base until the Marlins added Craig Counsell. From there, like many of the 1997 Marlins bench core, Abbott did his part. His role was providing infield power off the bench. Overall, during his time with the Marlins, Abbott had four quality years. After the 1997 season, Kurt Abbott was interestingly traded back to the A's one day short of the four year anniversary of when the Marlins acquired him from the A's.
After his time with the Marlins, Abbott would continue being a quality utility infielder for another four years with the A's, Rockies, Mets, and Braves. He would go on to play in another World Series with the 2000 Mets who lost to the Yankees.
After a very short stint with the Braves, Abbott retired in 2001. He ended up with MLB career totals of 702 games, 2227 plate appearances, 2044 at-bats, 523 hits, 62 home runs, 242 RBI, 273 runs scored, 22 stolen bases, and a .256 batting average.
For long-time Marlins fans, Abbott's stint with the fish was definitely appreciated. His contributions as a solid player can't be forgotten. His being added to the team can be remembered on this day, twenty years later.