Editor's note: Last week, we gave you the top five worst trade in Marlins history.
Sorry about that.
To make it up to you, this week Aram highlights his top five best trades in Marlins history. Enjoy! - TB
5. Nov. 24th, 2005: Marlins acquire Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell
Right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell had extraordinary careers as Marlins, playing critical roles in the Marlins 2003 title run. Less importantly, they would also go on to play key parts in the Red Sox 2007 World Series victory.
In trading them to said Sox, the Marlins secured themselves a superstar in the making in Hanley Ramirez and a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm with Anibal Sanchez. Ramirez would go on to hit .300 with 148 home runs and 230 stolen bases in his Marlins career, while becoming the Marlins second rookie of the year winner. Anibal Sanchez would post a 44-45 record in his seven seasons with the Fish while recording a respectable 3.75 ERA and tossing the team's fourth no hitter in 2006.
Aside from helping the Red Sox secure their third World Series title since 1918, Lowell and Beckett would have very impressive careers in Boston. Beckett registered 89 wins in a Red Sox uniform with his most impressive season being in 2007, the Red Sox title season. In 2007, Beckett was the games lone 20 game winner and the Cy Young runner up.
Lowell meanwhile hit .290 with 80 home runs in his five years with the Sox. Lowell would also have his most impressive season in 2007, hitting .324 with a 120 RBI, good enough to finish 5th in the AL MVP voting. While there is no clear winner in this trade, it benefited both sides greatly. The Marlins were able to shed salary while acquiring a superstar and a serviceable young arm and the Red Sox brought in two key pieces to their Would Series run. The Red Sox/Marlins trade of 2005 serves as evidence that not every trade has a clear winner.
4. December 11, 2014: Marlins Acquire Dee Gordon, Dan Haren and Miguel Rojas for Andrew Heaney, Chris Hatcher, and Austin Barnes
Following the trade to the Fish, Dee Gordon put together one of the all-time great Marlins' seasons in 2015, his first year with the team. Gordon hit .333 which garnered him a batting title, stole 56 bases which bagged him a stolen base title, led the league in hits, was named an all-star for the second straight season and won Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at second base.
Dan Haren served as a bolster for the back end of the paper thin Marlins rotation in 2015. Haren was solid in his 21 starts for the Marlins, going 7-7 with a 3.42 ERA. Dan Haren was traded to the Cubs mid-season for two minor leaguers, where he would ultimately finish up his career. Utility-man Miguel Rojas has also served as a valuable piece off the bench for the Marlins. Rojas played every infield spot for the Marlins in 2016, while serving as a platoon against lefties. Rojas hit a solid .281 against southpaws while providing an above average, versatile glove.
The Marlins were forced to part with their top pitching prospect, Andrew Heaney as well as reliever Chris Hatcher, and minor leaguer Austin Barnes. Heaney, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, was the centerpiece of the trade alongside Dee Gordon. The Dodgers would then flip Heaney to the Angels the same day in order to acquire second baseman Howie Kendrick. Kendrick has been decent for Los Angeles, hitting .273 in his two seasons in Dodger Blue, but somewhat platooning with Chase Utley at second base and bouncing around the outfield. Prior to his surgery, Andrew Heaney pitched pretty decently for the Angels, recording a 6-5 record with a 3.63 ERA but still not reaching his ace potential. Chris Hatcher, a converted catcher, has come out of the bullpen for the Dodgers the last two seasons compiling just under 80 innings pitched with an ERA a hair over five. Austin Barnes briefly got a taste of the big leagues with the Dodgers, registering 37 plate appearances in each of the last two seasons.
Despite Dee Gordon’s PED suspension, it is safe to say the Marlins won this trade. For the Dodgers, a platoon of Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick is a downgrade from the speedster, Dee Gordon, who’s contract was also more affordable than both Utley and Kendrick’s.
3. December 19, 2014: Marlins acquire Martin Prado and David Phelps for Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones
The most recent trade on the list, the Marlins pulled off highway robbery from the Yankees by acquiring third baseman Martin Prado and pitcher David Phelps for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and first baseman Garrett Jones. Garrett Jones was simply unimpressive in his lone season with the Marlins, hitting .246 with 15 home runs and struck out over 100 times, despite almost never facing lefty pitchers. Nathan Eovaldi was just as unimpressive in his Marlins career. Eovaldi owned a 13-27 record and an ERA over four with the Marlins before being dealt to the Big Apple.
Both Eovaldi and Jones would not find much more success in New York. Jones played 57 games in pinstripes batting a dreadful .215 before being released in August. Eovaldi, praised for his explosive stuff, has never really seemed to put it together. With a fastball that can reach triple digits and sharp off speed stuff, it is difficult to fathom the fact that Eovaldi has constantly struggled to achieve an ERA below four his entire career. Eovaldi went down in the middle of 2016 with a torn UCL that required Tommy John surgery; the Yankees are still holding out hope that Eovaldi can come back stronger from his surgery in 2018 and finally reach his potential.
As for the Marlins return, Martin Prado continues to solidify the fact that the Marlins won the trade. Prado had a solid year in 2015, his first year with the Fish, hitting .288 and knocking in 68 runs. Prado really hit his stride in 2016, hitting .305 with 75 RBI. Prado hit an astonishing .424 against lefties and an impressive .368 with runners in scoring position. The value of Martin Prado expands beyond the field; he serves as a captain and a leader in the clubhouse, which is a large part of the reason why the Fish recently extended Prado for three more years at a sum of about $40 million.
David Phelps first season in the Marlins rotation was a mixed bag and was moved to the bullpen to start 2016. Phelps' stuff seemed to play better in a set up role; he was dominant there for a majority of the season, posting a 2.28 ERA and striking out 114 in just under 87 innings, while recording 24 holds and four saves. As time passes the Marlins-Yankees trade looks more and more like a huge victory for the Fish.
2. March 27, 2002: Marlins acquire Dontrelle Willis and Julian Tavarez for Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca
Dontrelle Willis or "D-Train" is one of the Marlins all-time fan favorites. Willis would get called up to the show in May 2003, where he would hit the ground running. Willis was nothing short of phenomenal in his rookie season, going 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA, good enough to earn him an all-star appearance and the Marlins first Rookie of the Year honor. Willis was a key component to the Marlins 2003 World Series title and pitched outstanding out of the bullpen in the playoffs. In his five years with the Marlins, Willis achieved a 68-54 record with a 3.78 ERA. "D-Train" still holds the Marlins record for most wins in a single season with 22, good enough to finish second in the 2005 Cy Young to Chris Carpenter. Willis also provided value with his bat, Dontrelle hit .234 in his career with the Marlins with eight home runs and is still the only Marlins pitcher to have a multi-home run game.
The Marlins did not part with much in order to acquire Willis, giving up pitchers Matt Clement and Antonio Alfonseca. Clement would have a respectable career with the Cubs as a back end starter. In his three season with the Cubs, Clement went 35-36 with a 3.80 ERA, the best stretch of his career. Alfonseca, perhaps most famous for his sixth finger on his throwing hand, pitched two seasons with the Cubs, recording a sub-par 4.86 ERA in 126 appearances. While Dontrelle would later become a part of the infamous Miguel Cabrera trade, the value he provided to the Marlins is not to be overlooked. Alfonseca and Clement were a small price to play for one of the organization's best pitchers of all time.
1. Feb. 1, 1999: Marlins acquire Mike Lowell from the New York Yankees for three minor leaguers
It is rather interesting to see Mike Lowell on both sides of positive trades for the Marlins. In 1999 the Marlins traded three minor leaguers for one of the all-time great Marlins, Mike Lowell. In his seven years with the Marlins, Lowell made three all-star appearances and won a gold glove while hitting .272 with 143 home runs, good for the fourth most in Marlins history.
Lowell, a fan favorite, posted 14.1 WAR with the Fish between 1999-2005, which ranks seventh in Marlins history and played an integral role in the Marlins 2003 World Series championship. As for the three minor leaguers the Marlins sent to New York, Ed Yarnell would be the only player to make an appearance for the Yankees, pitching a total of 20 innings, racking up a 5.40 ERA. Lowell's key role in the 2003 World Series run as well as his steadiness in his seven seasons with the Marlins, at the bargain price in which they acquired him, makes this trade a huge win for the Fish.