Today’s chapter includes two of Florida’s playoff heroes from their first World Series title run.
Through their first 28 seasons, the Marlins have had 630 players take the field in a regular season game.
We’ve already covered 464 of them, and we only have 166 to go. I first sorted players into brackets defined by their amount of plate transactions—plate appearances for hitters and batters faced for pitchers. The current group is comprised of players between 250 and 799.
After the initial sorting out, the order is further refined by a player’s brWAR divided by total BF/PA. Today’s group of four features a player who remains famous for getting paid well after the end of his career. Here’s the one you’ve all been waiting for, Chapter 87.
166. Jarred Cosart
Six-foot-three right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart was originally chosen in the 38th round of the 2008 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies. A League City, Texas native, Cosart soon afterward joined their Rookie-level club, and struck out 25 in 24 1⁄3 innings, allowing only a dozen hits and seven walks.
Halfway through the 2011 campaign, Philadelphia traded Cosart with Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid, and PTBNL Domingo Santana to the Houston Astros for Hunter Pence and cash. It was with the Astros for whom Cosart made his eventual major league debut, in mid-2013.
Cosart started 30 times with the Astros over two seasons, posting a 10-8 record and a 3.57 ERA with 108 strikeouts and a 1.423 WHIP in 176 1⁄3 innings. At the 2014 trade deadline, Houston sent Cosart, Austin Wates, and Kike Hernandez to the Marlins for Jake Marisnick, Francis Martes, Colin Moran, and a competitive balance pick.
After joining the 2014 Miami club, Cosart put together the best half-season of his career (to date). In 10 starts, he went 4-4 with a 2.39 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 64 innings. He posted a 1.188 WHIP, got 63 percent of his pitches over the plate, and a .231/.295/.303 slash line. On August 12, Cosart limited the Cardinals to three hits and no runs over seven innings, earning the 3-0 victory over St. Louis.
In 2015, Cosart missed over a month due to vertigo, and later in the year was sent back to the Triple-A level with the New Orleans Zephyrs. He started in 13 of his 14 major league appearances that year, posting a 2-5 record and a still-decent if slightly less impressive 1.38 WHIP. On April 27, he had the right stuff, pitching eight two-hit innings and keeping the New York Mets scoreless. Unfortunately, the Marlins only scored one run, and Steve Cishek gave up three in the bottom of the inning for a loss.
Cosart started three games for Miami near the beginning of the 2016 campaign, but allowed 13 earned runs in 14 2⁄3 innings. After getting optioned back to New Orleans, he made one more start for the Marlins in late-July. At the trade deadline, Miami traded Cosart to the San Diego Padres with Carter Capps, Luis Castillo, and Josh Naylor for Colin Rea, Tayron Guerrero, and Andrew Cashner.
Cosart went on to pitch in 16 games for the Friars, going 0-5 with a 5.58 ERA over the next two seasons. They released him the day before Halloween in 2017.
165. Dennis Cook
Dennis Cook is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from La Marque, Texas. In 1983, the Padres chose him in the sixth round out of Angelina College. He didn’t sign, and in 1985 he was redrafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 18th round.
In 1988, Cook made his major league debut with San Francisco. He appeared in six games for them over the next two seasons, and later also played with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Sox, and the Texas Rangers. After the completion of the 1996 season, he signed with the Marlins through free agency.
Cook was a big part of the Marlins first World Championship run through the 1997 season. He ranked third on the team with 59 trips out of the bullpen. Cook put up a 3.90 ERA, a 3.37 FIP, and a 1.48 WHIP. He struck out 63 in 62 1⁄3 innings, holding opponents to a .267/.347/.400 slashline, stranding 79 percent of inherited runners, and putting 60 percent of his offerings over the plate.
On June 13, Cook earned his only win of the season when he relieved Mark Hutton in the top of the 12th inning, with runners on the corners and one out. He induced a Paul O’Neill pop fly, walked Bernie Williams, and got Tino Martinez to ground out harmlessly to end the Yankees threat. In the bottom of the inning, Charles Johnson drew a bases loaded walkoff walk for a 2-1 Marlins victory.
On August 1 (see video, above), Cook was called on to pinch hit in the bottom of the 12th inning in a 2-2 tie with the Braves, and drove Gregg Zaun home with a walkoff single.
In seven postseason appearances, Cook was on another level. He pitched a total of nine innings, and allowed no runs on two walks and one hit, striking out 10. In fact, through Cook’s career, he never allowed a postseason run, allowing five hits in 16 1⁄3 innings over 19 games.
After helping the Marlins win the World Series, Cook was traded to the New York Mets for Fletcher Bates and Scott Comer. He played four seasons with the Mets, and later rejoined the Phillies before closing his career with the Anaheim Angels in 2002. Through his 15-season major league career, Cook appeared in 665 games, and struck out 739 batters in 1011 2⁄3 innings.
164. Bobby Bonilla
Switch-hitting third baseman Bobby Bonilla is a six-foot-three native of Bronx, New York. In 1981, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed him through free agency at the age of 18. By 1984, Baseball America had Bonilla ranked as the Bucs top prospect. Prior to making his major league debut, the Chicago White Sox selected him in the rule 5 draft after the 1985 season.
In 75 games for the Pale Hose, Bonilla started his major league career with a .269/.361/.355 slashline. Although Chicago never ceded him back to the Pirates, they did trade him to Pittsburgh midway through his rookie season for Jose DeLeon.
Before getting to the Marlins, Bonilla was a six-time All Star and three time Silver Slugger. He played six years with the Pirates, four years with the New York Mets, and two with the Baltimore Orioles. After the 1996 season, he signed with Florida through free agency.
Bonilla ranked second on the Marlins in 1997 by appearing in 153 games, and trailed only Moises Alou and Gary Sheffield on the team with a 3.5 oWAR. Bobby hit 245 homers before joining the Marlins, and power continued to be a big part of his game through his time in Florida.
Bonilla slashed .297/.378/.468 with 17 homers and 96 RBI for the eventual World Champions, with 73 walks and 94 strikeouts. He scored 77 runs, collecting 39 doubles and three triples. Defensively, he put up a .938 fielding percentage in 1268 2⁄3 innings, and was 13 total zone runs below the “average” National League third baseman.
Forty-six times through the 1997 regular season, Bonilla collected multiple hits, including nine times with three or more. On September 16, he hit an RBI-single in the first, hit a double and scored in the fourth, and topped off his night with a grand-slam walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth in a 9-6 victory against the Colorado Rockies.
In 16 postseason games that year, Bonilla went 16-for-64 with two doubles, two homers, and 10 RBI. In 28 games the following season, he hit .278 with four homers and 15 RBI before getting traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the deadline with Manuel Barrios, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson, and Gary Sheffield for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile.
After finishing the season with the Dodgers, Bonilla spent a season each with the Mets, the Braves, and the Cardinals. After a 16-season major league career, he had hit .279/.358/.472 with 287 round-trippers and 1173 RBI. Bonilla continues to get paid by the Mets every season due to the unique structuring of a contract he signed in 1999. He’ll continue to collect $1.19 million per year through 2035.
163. Kevin Gregg
Kevin Gregg is a six-foot-six right-handed reliever and the Marlins closer for the 2007 and 2008 season. Originally, the Corvallis, Oregon native was a 15th round choice of the Oakland Athletics in 1996.
Gregg reached the majors for the first time with the Anaheim Angels in 2003, starting in three of his five appearances. The following season, he joined the bullpen, more-or-less for good. In four seasons in total for the Angels, he posted a 4.31 ERA and struck out 221 in 255 innings. After the 2006 season, the Angels traded Gregg to the Marlins for Chris Resop.
Although he started his Marlins career with only one major league save, by the end of April he was the closer of choice for manager Fredi Gonzalez. He struck out 87 in 84 innings, saving 32 games for the 71-win club. He held opponents to a .206/.310/.317 slashline by getting 62 percent of his pitches in the zone, and stranding 85 percent of his inherited baserunners, with a career best 1.23 WHIP.
Gregg’s worst save of the season was probably his most physically taxing. He used 55 pitches to earn a three-inning save, striking out six but allowing four runs in a 12-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on April 22. On August 28, he struck out five in two scoreless innings without earning a save, in a 4-3, 11-inning win against the Braves.
Gregg retained the closer role for Florida in 2008, earning 29 saves and posting a 3.41 ERA in 68 2⁄3 innings, with a 1.282 WHIP. After the season ended, they sent him to the Chicago Cubs for Jose Ceda.
Gregg spent a season with the Cubs, and later also pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles. In 2014, he rejoined the Marlins for a dozen games, but allowed 10 runs in nine innings. He appeared 11 more times at the major league level the following season with the Cincinnati Reds. He totaled 177 saves through his 13 season major league career, with 661 K’s in 720 1⁄3 innings.