Jumping Ship – Megadeals of Teams that Quit

Typical Marlins. Shipping away their star players to save some money is nothing new for this franchise. But this time, the Marlins are coming off a season where they were expected to be World Series contenders. They had a brand new stadium, a brand new look, and a brand new infield.

In an act of desperation the Miami have sold their team to the Blue Jays. Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Benafacio, and John Buck will be playing in Toronto in 2013. Thanks a lot, Miami. At least the Sox don’t have to worry about having more overpaid athletes on their team.

Anyways, in a trend that’s been around since the beginning of sports, here are some huge deals that put the quit in some  teams.

Red Sox Dump $270 Million in Salaries – 2012

Nothing like a good cleanse. The reeling Red Sox admitted their errors by sending Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto over to the Dodgers. The Dodgers, in return, sent over the only-hits-for-average James Loney, and some prospects including Rubby De La Rosa, who could very well be in the Sox rotation pending on what they do this winter.

The move helped give the Sox options for next season, and rid them of Crawford and Beckett, who the fans and media considered “poison.” There was no chance the Sox would make the playoffs, and the move allowed them to save money for Ellsbury, Ortiz, and Ross, among others.

World Series Champions Florida Marlins Go Out On Top – 1997

Following their improbable run, owner Wayne Huizenga decided what better time than ever to dismantle his championship team. Huizenga sent Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile. Of course, Piazza and Zeile would be gone by midseason.

Bonilla, Sheffield, and Johnson were all regular starters, with Bonilla hitting .367 with 17 HR and 96 RBI, Sheffield going .250/21/71, and Johnson hitting .250/19/63.

The Marlins went on to finish last in the division in 1998, becoming a perfect example of “can’t fix what ain’t broken.”

Quebec Nordiques Sends Away Star Player, Gets Rewarded…Sort of… – 1992

After constant peer pressure from the NHL and Eric Lindros himself, the Quebec Nordiques finally succumbed to the pressure and sent away their star player for Peter Forsberg, Mike Ricci, Ron Hextall, Steve Duchesne, Kerry Huffman, Chris Simon, two first-round picks and $15 million.

Lindros never wanted to be part of the Nordiques and, with the franchise in dire straights, he finally got his wish and was traded to the Flyers. However, as hockey fans would find out, this was the best possible thing the Nordiques could have done.

Eventually, in 1995, the Nordiques moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche, but not before the Lindros trade started paying serious dividends. In their first season with Quebec, defenseman Duchesne put up 82 points, Mike Ricci put up 73, with 10 game-winning goals. Both became big contributors in the scoring department, while Simon was known as the organization’s enforcer. One of the first round picks from the trade (Jocelyn Thibault) was used to acquire Patrick Roy in the 1995 season. After the team moved, Forsberg began his pro career, winning the Calder trophy, while Roy continued putting up Vezina-worthy numbers. And of course, the Avalanche went on to win two Stanley Cups with those players.

See, kids? Quitting isn’t always bad.

The Minnesota Vikings Become Responsible for The Cowboys Dynasty – 1989

The Dallas Cowboys were a horrible team, going only 1-15 and needed to rebuild. Consequently, they decided to ship their star running back Herschel Walker to the Vikings for…well basically an entire team, but really just a ton of draft picks.

Maybe if the draft didn’t go so well, sports history would be different, but this eventually became one of the most monumental drafts in NFL history. The Cowboys picked future hall-of-famer (and Dancing with the Stars winner) Emmitt Smith, and 5-time pro-bowler and all-time tackles leader Darren Woodson. The two players became superstars and huge contributors to the team, a team that eventually won three Super Bowls over four years.

Minnesota? Well they went from from 10-6 to 6-10, while Walker never managed to reach 1,000 yards with the team.

Dwight Howard Complains, Dismantling the Magic – 2012

There was the Stan Van Gundy-Dwight Howard feud, the constant requests to get traded to the Nets, and the troubling back injuries. In the end, the Magic were without a coach, a star player, or decent draft picks. The Howard saga reached its tipping point on August 10, as he was traded to the Lakers for…well that’s still to be determined.

In a massive deal between four teams (Magic, Lakers, Nuggets, and 76ers), the Magic basically called it quits. The star players that weren’t named Dwight Howard (Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bynum) went to the Nuggets and 76ers, respectively, while the Magic got a bunch of role players.

What the Magic also received were three (protected) first-round picks and two second-round picks. So basically, don’t expect to see any top 5 draftees on the Magic from this trade.

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The dismantling of teams in dramatic fashion seems to be an increasing trend, especially with “super teams” emerging amid grumblings of consolidation. With the successful(ish) parity of the NFL, let’s hope that big market teams aren’t the only ones with the stars. And at least this newest trade sends players to Canada.

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