As you probably know by now, I was born a White Sox fan and have adopted the Marlins over the years as I've lived in Miami. That set of circumstances got me thinking (once again) about a potential deadline deal trade that never came to be this year.
At the end of July the White Sox were looking for some pitching and some pop at third base. At the same time the Marlins were looking for almost the same thing and the two teams thought they had a match. A trade of Jose Contreras and Joe Crede from the Sox for A.J. Burnett and Mike Lowell from the Marlins was discussed. Well, those were the principles in the deal; Damaso Marte and/or Brandon McCarthy may have been asked for by the Marlins. The inclusion of one or two of those extra pieces was likely the dealbreaker for the White Sox.
Ultimately the deal did not go through. The White Sox felt that the price was too high to pay - particularly since Burnett is due for free agency as of the end of the season and his asking price (around late July) was pretty high.
That non-deal really looks like a turning point for both franchises now. Contreras turned it on for the last two months of the regular season (in 11 regular season outings after the deadline he went 9-1 in 79 innings, allowing 66 hits, 19 walks, and a 2.05 ERA). Burnett showed flashes of brilliance, but ultimately fizzled out (he two started 11 games, but went 4-6 in 70 innings; A.J. allowed 62 hits, 30 walks, and a 3.73 ERA). The same holds true at third, where Crede outperformed Lowell (Crede: .242/.283/.458; Lowell: .218/.306/.327; both play(ed) stellar defense).
Given how close the Marlins came to making the playoffs this year, one has to wonder how it all would have worked out if Contreras and Crede were wearing Marlins' pinstripes instead of White Sox' pinstripes.
We'll never know for sure, but it's fun to think about it. I suppose it would be more fun if the Marlins were in the World Series. At least it wasn't Beinfest who vetoed the deal. We can retain hope that Larry knew what he was doing and that he'll pull off a slick trade like this in the future.