The All-Time Marlins Countdown is a series where we recap every player to appear with the team at the major league level over their first 28 seasons.
The final 128 players in the series all accumulated 800 or more PA/BF while with the club. Carl Pavano collected a bWAR value of 8.1 in two-and-a-half seasons with the Marlins.
32. Carl Pavano
Carl Pavano is. six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from New Britain, Connecticut. The Boston Red Sox made him a home-town pick (close enough) in the 13th round of the 1994 draft out of Southington HS, 355th off the board (and seven picks ahead of fellow major league alum Ryan Freel).
Pavano had a four-pitch mix, featuring a sinker, a split-fingered fastball, a slider, and a conventional four-seam fastball, which topped out at 88 MPH. Not a dominant strikeout pitcher by any stretch, Pavano found success by keeping his walk-rate low and by keeping the ball in the park.
After the 1997 minor league season, Pavano was traded to the Montreal Expos for a deal featuring Pedro Martinez. Pavano joined their rotation the following year, and eventually went 24-35 in five years starting for the Expos. In 2002, they sent him to the Marlins with Graeme Lloyd (#327), Mike Mordecai (#267), Justin Wayne (#276), and PTBNL Don Levinski for Cliff Floyd “(#TBD), Wilton Guerrero, and Claudio Vargas.
After the trade, Pavano appeared in relief in over half of his 22 appearances through the rest of the season. He allowed opponents to hit .306 and only struck out 41 in 61 2⁄3 innings. His saving grace was that he walked only 14 batters during that time, and finished with a better-than-league-average 3.79 ERA. On July 25, he struck out five batters over 2 2⁄3 perfect innings of relief in a 3-2 victory over his former club, the Expos.
In 2003, Pavano parlayed his stellar 64 percent strike-rate and solid 1.259 WHIP into a 12-13 record with a 4.30 ERA. He struck out 133 and walked 49 in a team-high 201 innings, ranking last on the team in whiff-rate (6.0) and first on the team in walk-rate (2.2). In 19 1⁄3 postseason innings, he held batters to a 1.40 ERA. He only started two games, coming into another six in relief. He saved his best for last, in Game Four of the World Series against the New York Yankees on October 22. Pavano started and kept the Bombers to one run over eight innings, earning no decision in a 4-3, 12-inning Marlins win.
In 2004, Pavano led a pretty stout pitching staff with 18 victories against only eight losses. Academically, the rotation also featured Dontrelle Willis (#25), Josh Beckett (#27), Brad Penny (#70), and A.J. Burnett (#45). On June 16, Pavano pitched a three-hitter, striking out eight in a 4-0 victory against the Chicago White Sox. He led the pitching staff by a wide margin with 222 1⁄3 innings, whiffing 139 and posting a 1.174 WHIP and a 3.00 ERA. For his efforts, he was selected to the National League All Star Team for the first and only time in his career.
Pavano signed with the Yankees through free agency prior to the 2005 season, and later also pitched for the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins. He retired in 2014 with a career 108-107 record and a 4.39 ERA.