Today in Yankees History: Mike Lowell

Despite featuring one of the most detrimental trades in recent Yankees history, February 1st is a day that is usually forgotten by Bombers fans. On this day in 1999, Yankees General Manager Bob Watson pulled off a trade that would go on to haunt the Yankees for the next 12 seasons. 18 years ago today New York traded highly touted third base prospect Mike Lowell to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Mark Johnson and Ed Yarnall, eventually proving to be one of the worst trades of Watson’s career.
Photo via Bronx Baseball Daily

Mike Lowell would go on to hurt the Yankees time and time again, both with Florida as well as with the arch-rival Boston Red Sox. In his 2003 campaign Lowell hit 32 home runs, drove in 105 runs, and posted a .881 on-base plus slugging (OPS). That season Lowell also received his second All-Star selection and his first Silver Slugger award all while leading the Marlins to a World Series championship over none other than the New York Yankees. Lowell would go on to make two more All-Star appearances in addition to winning a Silver Slugger award and a Gold Glove award with Florida before becoming a key piece in a blockbuster trade to the Boston Red Sox along with 2003 World Series MVP Josh Beckett.

Lowell’s best season in Boston would come in their championship season of 2007 in which the Red Sox would best the Yankees by two games for the American League East crown. The 2007 season would prove to be the year of his career, with Lowell hitting .324 while driving in 120 runs; enough for the third baseman to finish fifth in MVP voting. In the World Series that year, Lowell would post a .400 batting average and a 1.300 OPS in Boston’s four-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies; he was awarded the World Series MVP award. Lowell would go on to retire from the league after the 2010 season.


While Lowell found success throughout his career, the players New York received did not fare as well. Johnson would never play a game for the Yankees, finishing with only 428 games played over eight seasons with the Pirates, Angels, and Mets. Yarnall appeared in only seven games in his career, all with New York; he finished with an atrocious 5.40 earned run average (ERA). This would be the final trade of Watson’s career before being replaced by Brian Cashman two days later.

Article by: Matthew Smith

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