May 23, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Friday, November 16, 2012
Ten years ago today, the Rockies and Marlins conducted a major trade, sending several notable players between the two teams.
It was a six-player deal, with four men going to Colorado in exchange for two headed to sunny southern Florida. Juan Pierre and Mike Hampton (and cash) went to the Marlins in exchange for Vic Darensbourg, Charles Johnson, Pablo Ozuna and Preston Wilson.
There are quite a few big names in that trade.
The biggest—especially at that time—was starting pitcher Hampton. He came to Colorado in 2001 as part of the great change-up experiment. The team identified that pitchers who can mix speeds had the best chance to survive in Colorado’s thin air. After all, guys with breaking stuff are prone to see their best pitches flatten out in the mile-high altitude. (For example,Darryl Kile). So Colorado had brought aboard Hampton and fellow big signee Denny Neagle.
Hampton looked liked a great pick—for about a half-season. He had a hot start in 2001, and made the All-Star team, but fizzled badly. After he began the year 9-2 with a 3.06 ERA, Denver caught up to Hampton. Down the stretch he was 5-13 with a 7.56 ERA. He struggled all the more in 2002, going 7-15 with a 6.15 ERA.
As bad as Hampton was, the Rockies were still on the hook for millions more for multiple years. They wanted to ditch his albatross of a contract—or at least lessen the burden on themselves.
They couldn’t find anyone to fully take his contract, but the Rockies did succeed in at least getting him off their roster and getting some value in return. Yes, they had to eat some money, and they also had to part with a regular player, everyday left fielder Juan Pierre.
The young Pierre was a .300 hitter who led the NL in steals (and caught steals) in 2001 while getting over 200 hits. As an extreme groundball hitter, his average benefited surprisingly little from the air in Denver. In fact, in three years in Florida, Pierre would have a pair of 200-hit seasons, and roughly had the same raw offensive stats there as in Colorado.
Denver was willing to accept Pierre’s loss not only because it got Hampton off their roster but because they gained a new starting outfielder, Preston Wilson. A decent slugger, Wilson took more advantage of the air up in Denver than Pierre ever could. In his first season, the 28-year-old who had had just one year over 26 homers knocked 36 balls out of the park while driving in 151 runs.
2003 proved to be pretty much it, though, for Wilson in Colorado. He played in just 58 games in 2004, and then the squad traded him in mid-2005.
The other players didn’t do much for Colorado. Charles Johnson had been an All-Star catcher as recently as 2001, but by 2003 was broken down. He hit just .230 and his 20 homers in 108 games weren’t enough to make that too good. He had a similar season in 2004, but then went to Tampa to finish his career.
Darrensbourg had been a middling reliever for several years in Florida, but arrived in Colorado as damaged goods. After missing the first 50 games, he pitched three times and went back on the DL. Colorado cut him and while he never did much the rest of his career, he hung around until 2005.
Ozuna played in just 17 games for the Rockies before they cut him. He later caught on as an all-purpose back-up for the White Sox from 2005-08.
Basically, Colorado got one good year from Wilson in exchange for a few good years from Pierre and the loss of Hampton.
As for Hampton, he never pitched for Florida at all. Just two days after the trade to Miami, the Marlins sent him to Atlanta. Under the guidance of pitcher whisperer Leo Mazzone, Hampton had two nice seasons before injuries helped hasten the end of his career.
Thus, the team that might’ve gotten the most out of this Marlins-Rockies trade was the Atlanta Braves. Regardless, the trade happened—and it happened 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through things.
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