Urbina deal pays off

Setup man Ugueth Urbina has been the ultimate team player this season for the Marlins.

Updated: October 8, 2003, 2:37 PM ET
By Tom Candiotti | Special to ESPN Insider
Give credit to the Florida Marlins' front office. If the Marlins can hold on to their lead in the NL wild-card race, a wise midseason deal will be a big reason why.

When it became clear that the Texas Rangers would be shopping reliever Ugueth Urbina before the trade deadline, the prevailing thought in baseball circles was that big-market clubs like the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox would get him. So it surprised many observers when Florida landed the 29-year-old right-hander.

Urbina was Texas' closer, and the Marlins already had a closer, Braden Looper. But when you add a relief pitcher of Urbina's caliber, it shortens the game, closing the opponent's window of opportunity.

Tom Candiotti provides analysis for select ESPN Major League Baseball coverage, working at various games throughout the season. Candiotti joined ESPN's baseball coverage team in 2001, shortly after closing the door on his 17-year pitching career.