Picking the worst trade bust in South Florida sports history can be a difficult exercise.
There are four prime candidates:
Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, the centerpieces of the package that the Marlins acquired from Detroit for perennial All-Star Miguel Cabrera; Daunte Culpepper, the quarterback Nick Saban decided to snag for a second-round pick instead of signing Drew Brees as a free agent; and Todd Bertuzzi, the key piece in a regrettable trade that jettisoned popular All-Star goaltender Roberto Luongo to Vancouver for nine years before his return.
Over the past two days, we have explored the biggest South Florida sports busts acquired via the draft and free agency.
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Here’s a look at the 10 biggest busts added through trades:
1. Cameron Maybin & Andrew Miller
Unable to afford Cabrera long-term, the Marlins dealt him to Detroit in 2007 for six players: Maybin, Miller, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz, Mike Rabelo and Dallas Trahern. But Maybin and Miller were considered the jewels of that group, Maybin a five-tool outfield prospect and Miller the best pitching prospect in baseball.
Both bombed in Florida. Miller went 10-20 with a 5.89 ERA in three years here. Maybin also lasted three seasons, hitting .257, with 43 RBI in 144 games. Miller was traded to Boston in November 2010 for relief pitcher Dustin Richardson and has pitched much better since leaving Miami. Since departing Florida, Maybin has been generally mediocre for San Diego and now Atlanta.
Cabrera? He has solidified his Hall of Fame credentials, hitting .325 with 262 home runs and 877 RBI in seven full seasons and part of his current eighth (entering Friday’s games) with Detroit.
2. Daunte Culpepper
The Dolphins, operating on the advice of their medical staff who thought Culpepper’s knee was a safer long-term bet than Brees’ shoulder, traded a second-round pick to Minnesota for him in March 2006, believing they were getting the dual-threat Culpepper who made three Pro Bowl appearances for the Vikings in his five previous seasons.
But Culpepper was never the same after an October 2005 knee injury, played in only four games for Miami and underwent knee surgery in late November.
He asked to be traded the following June when Miami acquired Trent Green, was banned from Dolphins practice and released July 17, 2007. As for Brees, he won a Super Bowl and earned eight Pro Bowl appearances with the New Orleans Saints. The choice of Culpepper over Brees stands as arguably the worst personnel decision in Dolphins’ history.
3. Todd Bertuzzi
The Panthers’ June 2006 trade of Luongo, Lukas Krajicek and a sixth-round pick for Bertuzzi, goaltender Alex Auld and defenseman Bryan Allen is considered among the worst in NHL history, and much of the blame falls on Mike Keenan (who made the deal for Florida) and Bertuzzi.
The Panthers thought they were getting the dangerous scorer who produced 188 goals in eight seasons for the Canucks. Instead, Bertuzzi played in just seven games for the Panthers because of back problems, then was traded to Detroit for Shawn Matthias. Meanwhile, Luongo spent nine productive seasons with the Canucks, earning invitations to three All-Star Games, before the Panthers reacquired him last year.
4. A.J. Feeley
Looking for an upgrade on Jay Fiedler, general manager Rick Spielman dealt a 2005 second-round pick to Philadelphia for Feeley in March 2004. With both quarterbacks sharing playing time, the Dolphins opened 1-9 and coach Dave Wannstedt was dismissed. Feeley finished the 2004 season as the starter, produced a meager 61.7 rating, was beaten out by Gus Frerotte the following year, then was dealt to San Diego in October for Cleo Lemon.
5. Chris Wells
In November 2006, former Panthers GM Bryan Murray tried to shake up his team after a slow start by acquiring Wells, a strapping 6-6 center who was a big scorer in the minor leagues. So he traded two productive players to Pittsburgh, Stu Barnes and Jason Woolley, for Wells, who scored just seven goals in 141 games for the Panthers over four seasons.
6. Pete Johnson
Needing help at running back early in the Dolphins’ 1984 season, Don Shula sent a second-round pick (55th overall) to the Chargers for Johnson, who was the Bengals’ leading rusher for seven seasons. But he averaged 2.3 yards per carry for Miami and was gone after one season, his career over at 30.
7. Robin Sendlein
In August 1985, the Dolphins needed defensive help and thought enough of the former second-round pick from Texas to send the Vikings the rights to potential star receiver Anthony Carter in return for Sendlein and a second-round pick, which was later dealt to Tampa Bay for Hugh Green. Sendlein played only one season for Miami (three starts) and never appeared again in the NFL. Carter caught 486 passes in an 11-year career.
“We consider our needs on defense to be paramount,” Shula said at the time. “You hate to give up a player of Anthony Carter’s potential, but we feel good about our receivers, Mark Duper and Mark Clayton.”
8. Martin Muursepp
The Heat dealt a 2000 first-rounder to Utah during the 1996 draft to acquire the Estonian forward, who was selected 25th. Muursepp scored 17 points in 10 games in his only season for the Heat. In the process, he soured Pat Riley on drafting another foreign player for many years to come.
9. Alec Kessler and Brent Barry
Two trades that didn’t work out for the Heat: dealing draft picks Dave Jamerson and Carl Herrera to Houston for Kessler, the 12th overall pick in the 1990 draft, and shipping Ike Austin, Charles Smith and the 22nd pick of the 1998 draft to the Clippers for Barry, who wasn’t a good fit.
Barry averaged 4.1 points in 17 games for Miami and wasn’t retained after the 1998-99 season. Kessler averaged 5.2 points in four seasons for the Heat and never played in the NBA again. He died of a heart attack at 40 when he collapsed in a pickup basketball game in Gulf Breeze in 2007.
10. Jason Grilli and Nate Bump
Two years after he was named MVP of the World Series, the Marlins traded pitcher Livan Hernandez to San Francisco for two of the Giants’ top pitching prospects. Grilli appeared in only seven games for Miami, posting a 5.94 ERA, but has had a credible career since leaving. Bump had a 4.68 ERA in three undistinguished seasons for the Marlins. Hernandez went on to win 130 more games.
Dave Wannstedt traded a third round pick to St.Louis in 2004 for Lamar Gordon, who ran for just 64 yards on 35 carries in his one season for the Dolphins.