Editor's note: Due to scheduling conflicts completely on my part, this excellent piece by Pedro Figueroa was left behind when it should have been published a little less than two weeks back. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. -MJ
During the 2004-2005 offseason, the Marlins were looking to revamp their roster in order to make another run at a World Series championship. One of the needs that they looked to fill was a first-baseman and a lefty power bat to protect Miguel Cabrera. To fill both needs, the Marlins jumped into the sweepstakes for free agent, Carlos Delgado.
While all of Delgado's suitors offered the guarantee of riches, Delgado sought a situation that would give him his best chance to finally play in the postseason and potentially win a championship. Of the teams bidding, the Marlins, having won a championship about fifteen months earlier in 2003, were perceived as the team that offered Delgado the best chance. On January 25, 2005, Delgado agreed to terms with the Marlins and was officially signed on January 26, 2005. The deal was for four years and $52 million.
With Delgado joining an already playoff caliber roster filled with the likes of a young Miguel Cabrera, Mike Lowell, Juan Pierre, Josh Beckett, and Dontrelle Willis among others, the Marlins were considered by many as having a great chance to overthrow the Atlanta Braves as the kings of the division (9 straight NL East titles at the time). They were also a favorite to make the playoffs no matter what - either as division champions or the NL Wild Card. The signing of Delgado caused a major stir of excitement in the Marlins fan base and South Florida media.
Despite being new to the National League, Delgado didn't miss a beat during his transition and he paid huge dividends. He posted 33 homeruns, 115 RBI, a .301 avg, a .399 OBP, and a .981 OPS. Delgado had lived up to every bit of being a middle-of-the-order presence and protecting the young Miggy Cabrera in the lineup, thus helping the rising star to have his first season of batting over .300.
As for the team, despite great production from Delgado and Cabrera, along with good performances from other core players, the Marlins had a disappointing 2005 season. They ended up falling short of the playoffs and only won 83 games in a season where expectations were that they would at least win 90. To many Marlins fans, arguably it may have been the most overall disappointing season in Marlins history. As a result, the Marlins held the second fire-sale, or "market correction", in team history.
In November of the offseason, the Marlins ended up trading Carlos Delgado to one of his previous suitors, the New York Mets, in exchange for prospects 1B Mike Jacobs, RHP Yusmeiro Petit, and 3B Grant Psomas.
It was in 2006, with the Mets, when Delgado would finally get to the postseason for the only time in his career. The farthest he would get was the NLCS.
Delgado would go on to play at the MLB level through 2009. After that season, he was a free agent, but was injured and had a couple of hip surgeries. After he felt healthy again, he would attempt to get back into MLB in 2010, but would never make it and would retire in 2011.
Carlos Delgado can be remembered today, nine years after he chose to sign with the Marlins.