In just a matter of years, the Marlins went from the 2003 World Series Champions with a lofty payroll of $54 million (good for 21st in the league), to a team with a possible payroll of less than $10 million for next season. That’s about 1/10th of the higher end payrolls, and 1/20th of the New York Yankees payroll.
How is such a feat accomplished? Well, the Marlins have mastered the move. It’s called dumping everyone, most recently Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera. Turnover is expected in baseball, just ask Kenny Lofton. But in an unprecedented maneuver, the Florida Marlins have successfully ridded themselves of every player on the 2003 roster that tasted success. Sure, they are building for the future. But in a mere four years, the entire World Series championship team is now scattered amongst the majors, and elsewhere.
Here’s a peek at where the 2003 Marlins are now, based off of their 40-man 2003 roster:
Armando Almanza – Last pitched for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005.
Juan Alvarez – His career ended in mid 2003.
Josh Beckett – Pitches for some team up in New England.
Toby Borland – Retired in 2004 with the Marlins.
Nate Bump – Hasn’t pitched since 2005, location unknown. But he’s not on the Marlins roster, probably a bit too pricey.
A.J. Burnett – Hopping on and off the DL over the border in Canada with the Blue Jays.
Chad Fox – Underwent two Tommy John surgeries, and retired after the second with the Chicago Cubs. Funny, he was on the 2003 Marlins who squashed the dreams of the Cubs in the NLCS. Wonder if he ever thanked Steve Bartman.
Rick Helling – A miraculous holdover from the 1997 World Series champion Marlins. Oh wait, no, he went back to the Texas Rangers in the six year span before ‘03. And also pitched for the Orioles.
Allen Levrault – Last pitched for the Marlins in 2003, before their playoff push. That’s all I know, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.
Braden Looper – Pitched for the Mets and now St. Louis. Actually became a starter and won 12 games for the Cardinals. He saved 28 games for the Marlins in 2003, obviously making him too valuable to keep.
Blaine Neal – He’s now in Syracuse?! He’s right in my backyard pitching for the Syracuse Sky Chiefs, the Toronto Blue Jays Triple-A affiliate.
Vladimir Nunez – Playing for the White Sox Triple-A team, the Charlotte Knights.
Kevin Olsen – Last pitched for the Marlins in 2003.
Carl Pavano – Making more than the entire current Marlins organization with the New York Yankees by taking the mound once every couple months.
Brad Penny – Had a Cy-Young type year with the Dodgers. But his salary alone is $8 million.
Tommy Phelps – Another transfer to the Yankees, currently takes the mound for the AAA Scraton/Wilkes-Barre Yanks.
Mark Redman – An All-Star in 2006, who knew he’s now in the minor leagues? After undergoing surgery for an ingrown toenail, Mark was shipped around to four different minor league teams, finally settling with Colorado’s Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Made an emergency start for the Rockies in September, after a long road to recovery, but is back in the minors.
Tim Spooneybarger – Last pitched in mid 2003, decided he could go elsewhere with such a unique last name.
Michael Tejera – Is that Miguel Tejada? Oh no, Michael Tejera. Yea, he pitched a grand total of 11 1/3 innings after 2003 in three years and is currently retired.
Ugueth Urbina – Hmm. This one went a bit south after his release from the Marlins, literally. Hopped on board with the Tigers and then the Phillies, but then decided to make a trip down to Venezuela. He was charged with attempted murder for dousing five workers on his property with gasoline, and swinging a machete at them. I must say this is one of the Marlins better releases. He’s currently serving 14 years in Venezuelan prison, which, despite common thought, is worse than playing in Pro-Player stadium (or whatever its called now).
Justin Wayne – Last pitched for the minor league Newark Bears and is now searching for a team.
Dontrelle Willis – Shipped off to Detroit with Cabrera. Should fit right in with the nickname "D-Train"
Ramon Castro – Has hopped around as a backup catcher, now with the New York Mets.
Mike Redmond – Backup to Joe Mauer in Minnesota.
Ivan Rodriguez – Now reunited with Cabrera and Dontrelle in Detroit. Thankful that his nickname Pudge will finally be passed on to one of his new teammates.
Brian Banks – Retired from MLB after tasting sweet victory in 2003
Luis Castillo – Recently inked a four year contract with the New York Mets. Somehow the only player lucky enough to avoid the pink slip from the championship year in 1997 all the way through 2003.
Alex Gonzalez – One of the longer holdovers as he made it all the way till 2005 with the Marlins, but then the inevitable happened, and he was snatched up. Now plays for the Cincinnati Reds.
Derek Lee – Accepted by Cubs fans in 2004, despite the 2003 nightmare. Yet another good player making the puzzling move of leaving the Marlins to ink a contract elsewhere (now makes $13 million plus).
Mike Lowell – Signed for three more years by a team with red-colored socks. Has prospered with a short left field instead of trying to hit the ball out of the endzone in left with the Marlins.
Chad Allen – Tossed around by a few teams and currently a free agent after leaving the Kansas City minor league system.
Miguel Cabrera – Searching for the best cuisine in Detroit. Gotta love only dishing out enough money to use your best prospect until he's 24.
Jeff Conine – Won the WS with the Marlins in ’97. Then played for a few years with the Orioles. Came back to win again in 2003. Left again for the Orioles. Interesting team choices. Finally retired in September after choking along with the New York Mets.
Juan Encarnacion – Played for the Dodgers in 2004. Won the lottery and got a second chance with the Marlins. But after two years, signed with St. Louis. Currently lacing up the spikes for the St. Louis Cardinals with fellow former Marlin Braden Looper.
Andy Fox – Once a Yankee prospect, Fox found his way to Florida, where he got a ring in 2003. Despite leaving for the Expos in 2004, Andy has once again retreated to Florida, where he is the first base coach for the Marlins.
Lenny Harris – This one is the biggest headscratcher. How do you get rid of “pinch hitter extraordinaire” Lenny Harris? He played his final game for the Marlins in 2005. The biggest reason for the Marlins lack of success after that season? The missing puzzle piece that is Lenny Harris. Harris, the holder of the most pinch hits in baseball history, is now a coach with the Cincinnati Reds.
Todd Hollandsworth – Testing the free agent market. Last played for the Indians and Reds in 2006.
Mike Mordecai – Hard to list him as an outfielder as he’s played just about every position but pitcher. After the 2004 season, Mordecai left the major leagues.
Juan Pierre – Enjoyed arguably his best years in Florida. He and Castillo actually made the team quite entertaining. Since, he’s bounced from Chicago to LA. What’s with the Cubs grabbing all of the Marlins that hurt them in 2003? That won't help break a curse.
Gerald Williams – Most fondly held in my heart for putting Pedro Martinez on the turf(see video below), Williams was a bit on the downside of his career at this point. His career ended as a backup outfielder with the Mets in 2005.
SO, there you have it. The 2003 Florida Marlins: now spread around the MLB, coaches’ boxes, golf courses and Venezuelan prisons.
The team salary in 2003 - $54 million
In 2007 – http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/roster?team=fla
With the salaries that can be counted, $10,982,000.
If you can, wait till number 5 - that's Gerald Williams
Thanks to baseball-almanac.com and Wikipedia