Although it technically happened on November 24th, 2005, it’s worth noting this significant trade the Mets made with the Marlins that was finalized by Bud Selig seven years ago today. Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors took a trip back in time to not only re-visit the huge deal New York pulled off with the then-Florida Marlins, but also the other deal they made that day, sending Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to the Boston Red Sox. As Omar Minaya was slowly trying to bring a winning culture back to Flushing, the completion of this deal seemingly threw everything into overdrive.
After 12 successful years in Toronto (.282/.392/.556, 336 HR, 1058 RBI), Delgado decided to test the free agent market after the only organization he’s ever played for offered him a two-year/$12 million contract. Going into his age-33 season, Carlos felt he had plenty of baseball left in him, so he ventured out to look for a longer and more lucrative multi-year deal. Minaya and the Mets tried to lure him to Flushing before the 2005 to join newly-signed free agents Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, but the first baseman said the Amazins were playing to his Puerto Rican heritage too much, and he opted to take his talents to South Beach and play for the Marlins upon agreeing to a backloaded four-year/$52 million contract, with a vesting option for a fifth year.
Delgado responded with a fantastic year, hitting .301/.399/.582 with 33 homers and 115 RBI and placed sixth in the NL MVP voting for a third-place team that finished 83-79. It was the ninth consecutive season the slugger hit 30+ homers and the seventh time in eight years he drove in 100+ runs. Although he was signed to a big deal, he only made $4 million in 2005, leaving four years and $48 million left on his deal to unload, which the Marlins were able to do when they sent their first baseman to New York for Mike Jacobs, Grant Psomas, and Yusmeiro Petit.
When Omar Minaya became the team’s GM after the end of the 2004 season, we knew the organization meant business when they were able to lure Martinez and Beltran off the free agent market. However, for those who were skeptical about the team spending to put quality product on the field, the trade for Delgado made me a believer. This was the first trade the team was able to pull off to bring in a legit power bat since they made a deal with, you guessed it, the Marlins, to acquire Mike Piazza in 1998. The team’s primary first baseman in 2005 was Doug Mientkiewicz, who hit a paltry .240/.322/.407 with 11 homers and 29 RBI. Bringing in Delgado was quite the improvement at the position. For me, he was the best first baseman the team had since John Olerud was anchoring the infield.
As a Met, Delgado certainly lived up to expectations, hitting .267/.351/.506 with 104 homers and 339 RBI in 468 games played. His tenure in New York included two 30-HR/100-RBI seasons as he was part of a formidable middle of the lineup that included him, Beltran, and David Wright. He also placed within the top 15 in NL MVP voting twice despite not being voted to an All-Star game (2006, 2008). Of course, how could we forget his 2006 postseason performance; he was one of the number of players on that Mets squad experiencing October baseball for the first time in his career, hitting .351/.442/.757 with 4 homers and 11 RBI in 37 at-bats and 10 games played. I’ll never forget the four-hit, two-RBI performance he put together in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, and the big fist pump after he drove in Jose Reyes in the seventh inning with a run-scoring single.
Since it’s still Thanksgiving weekend, I can say that I’m thankful for this particular Marlins fire sale, as they didn’t care about trading one of the best power hitters of the 2000s to a division rival. Delgado was one of the best moves Minaya was ever able to pull off as GM, and Carlos’ arrival officially signaled a new day for the New York Mets and their fans.