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Miami Marlins History: Championship spark plugs Luis Castillo, Juan Pierre traded

Eight years ago this week, the Marlins traded Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre in two separate trades.


Eight years ago this week, the Marlins traded two of the main offensive catalysts from their 2003 World Series championship team. Just a few days apart, and two years after winning their second championship, the Marlins traded both of their top-of-the-order "spark plugs", Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre. These were two separate trades that were part of their continued fire sale to break up the disappointing 2005 team that failed to live up to expectations. The trades netted the Marlins five young pitchers.

Luis Castillo Trade

The first trade involving the offensive igniters occurred on December 2, 2005, when All Star 2B, Gold Glover, and former stolen base champion Luis Castillo was traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league pitchers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler.

Travis Bowyer was a 20th round pick in the 1999 amateur draft. He also participated in the 2005 Futures Game after also being selected as an All Star for the 2005 International League. He was a talented pitcher and was considered a good choice to be a future closer. However, Bowyer was injured and never had a chance to pitch for the Marlins or their minor league affiliates. The injury led to Bowyer leaving baseball until he came back in 2012 to pitch for the Somerset Patriots, an independent team in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. As of this date, he has only pitched in parts of one MLB season in 2005, with the Twins. He has appeared in 8 MLB games in relief, posting career totals of 8 games, 9.2 innings, 5.59 E.R.A. with no record.

The second pitcher in the trade, Scott Tyler, was a journeyman pitcher that bounced around the minors for eight seasons. Tyler had been called up to MLB, but never made an MLB appearance. He last pitched in 2008.

Juan Pierre Trade

The second trade involving the Marlins table-setting duo occurred on December 7, 2005, when star CF, and also a former stolen base champion, Juan Pierre was traded to the Chicago Cubs for young pitchers Sergio Mitre, Renyel Pinto, and Ricky Nolasco.

At the time of this trade, Sergio Mitre was a young talented pitcher that teams had inquired about. He was a former seventh round pick of the Cubs in the 2001 amateur draft. Although not considered a prime prospect, he was still considered a quality MLB arm. He would go on to spend two seasons with the Marlins, mostly as a starter, before being injured. He would go on to pitch in parts of eight MLB seasons with four different teams. Mitre pitched in 143 games; 64 as a starter. He had a career E.R.A. of 5.21 and a record of 13-30 with 1 Save in 454.2 innings.

This trade also included a lefty named Renyel Pinto, who had a nice arm and skills that needed development. Pinto was expected to become and eventually was given the role as the Marlins primary lefty reliever for a few years. Pinto, to put it delicately and kindly, ended up being an enigma. While many could point to certain statistics that favored Pinto being given many opportunities by the Marlins, there are other stats along with eye tests and memory tests that made Pinto's time as a Marlins pitcher very difficult for all parties involved (franchise, fans, etc.). Many fans could even go further and say or speculate that Pinto's continuous opportunities, despite regular failures on the mound, was a strike against former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, who was coincidentally fired on the same day that Renyel Pinto was officially released by the Marlins.

All of Pinto's time as an MLB pitcher was with the Marlins. To date, he has pitched in five total MLB seasons. He has appeared in 244 games, all in relief. He has had a respectable 3.62 E.R.A. in 231 innings with 222 strikeouts. However, to date, he has also had a career WHIP of 1.463 as a reliever. In his 231 MLB innings, he's given up a combination of 186 hits and 152 bases on balls to go along with 14 batters hit and 24 homeruns given up - most of which occurring in crucial moments of key games. His last MLB season was in 2010. Even though a couple of other MLB franchises have taken a look at Pinto, none have signed him. To date, he has last pitched in Japan as a starter for 2 games in 2012.

The biggest piece that the Marlins added in the trade for Pierre was RHP Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco was a solid addition. He was a former fourth round pick by the Cubs in the 2001 amateur draft. He was a quality arm expected to be a quality pitcher. While the Marlins did expect a little too much at times from Nolasco, he was a solid overall pitcher in his time with the Marlins. By the time he was traded to the Dodgers before the 2013 trade deadline, in his 7 1/2 seasons with the Marlins, he became the Marlins leader in career wins (81) and many other pitching stats. In all of his full seasons at the MLB level, Nolasco has had double figure wins. This includes his rookie season, when Nolasco combined with Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Scott Olsen to make the 2006 Marlins become the first (and only) MLB team to date to have four rookie pitchers win 10 or more games.

With the exception of his rookie season and following year when he was injured for most of the season, Nolasco has thrown 185 innings or more in every MLB season, with over 200 innings twice. His best MLB season was in 2008 when he was 15-8, threw 212.1 innings, struck out 186 batters, had an E.R.A. of 3.52, and had a WHIP of 1.102. Also of note, Nolasco has never walked over 47 batters in any season - a rate that keeps him amongst the better control starting pitchers in the game. To date, Nolasco has pitched in 229 games. He's thrown a total of 1312 2/3 innings. He has a career ERA of 4.37 and FIP of 3.76. After spending last season with both the Marlins and then Dodgers, Nolasco has recently signed to pitch for the Minnesota Twins.

This week in Marlins history marks the time in the 2005-06 fire sale when the Marlins traded their two spark plugs and stolen base champions from the last championship team. It was the week that truly impacted a move toward the next era of Marlins baseball - both in the loss of pieces traded and in a couple of the pieces gained.