10th anniversary of a big Marlins-Rockies tradeby Chris Jaffe
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.
2,000 days since Bruce Bochy endures his 1,000th loss as manager. His record is 975-1,000.
3,000 days since Dusty Baker notches his 1,000th win as manager. His record at the moment is 1,000-848.
7,000 days since the Brewers purchase pitcher Cory Lidle from Pocatello in the Pioneer League.
7,000 days since the Mets trade Frank Tanana to the Yankees.
7,000 days since the Blue Jays' all-time cumulative franchise record hits .500: 1,340-1,340.
10,000 days since Comiskey Park celebrates its 75th anniversary by having 11 fans who attended its grand opening in 1910 attend. The Sox lose to the Mariners, though.
10,000 days since Bruce Bochy hits the only walk-off home run that Nolan Ryan ever surrendered. It’s in the bottom of the 10th for a 6-5 Padres win over Houston. San Diego also scored in the eighth and ninth innings, but Ryan went the distance for an extra-inning loss. It was a different time.
25,000 days since all major league games are cancelled because the Allies just invaded Europe. Yup, 25,000 days ago was June 6, 1944— D-Day.
25,000 days since longtime Mets infielder Bud Harrelson is born.
30,000 days since Lou Gehrig, after 885 consecutive games played at first base, plays in the outfield. It’s the last day of the season and Babe Ruth takes this opportunity to pitch, going the distance in a 9-3 win over the Red Sox.
30,000 days since Hack Wilson drives in his 190th and 191st runs of the 1930 season, still the most by anyone in one season.
30,000 days since Dizzy Dean makes his big league debut.
1887 Major league baseball changes some central rules to the game, decreeing that walks will no longer count as hits (they did in 1887). Also, it will be three strikes for a strikeout, not four. A walk will still take five balls, though. (The four ball, three-strike count is still a year away).
1891 The Louisville Colonels are sold at auction, where Dr. T. Hunt Stuckey buys them.
1893 The Giants purchase George Van Haltren at auction from the Pirates for $2,500. He’ll be a star outfielder.
1894 The NL expels managers Al Buckenberger (Pittsburgh) and Billy Barnie (Louisville) and Louisville second baseman Fred Pfeffer because they tried to revive the American Association.
1930 Paul Foytack is born. He’s a pitcher whose main claim to fame is becoming the first person to allow back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs. For a long time, he was the only guy to do that.
1931 Second baseman Frank Bolling is born.
1950 League presidents Ford Frick and Will Harridge vote to deposit $950,000 from their World Series TV/radio money into a player pension fund.
1950 The Pittsburgh Pirates claim Dale Long from the Yankees in a Rule 5 draft.
1951 Red Sox manager Lou Boudreau says that team superstar Ted Williams is available for a trade. He’ll quickly back off this comment, though.
1961 The Mets unveil their team logo.
1962 The Milwaukee Braves are sold to a new group led by Bill Bartholomay, who will later move them to Atlanta.
1964 One-time uber-sensation Dwight Gooden is born.
1975 Julio Lugo is born.
1976 The Angels sign free agent outfielder Don Baylor.
1979 Boston signs free agent first baseman Tony Perez.
1979 California signs free agent pitcher Bruce Kison.
1980 The Mets sign amateur free agent Kevin Mitchell.
1987 Former relief pitcher Jim Brewer dies just two days after his 50th birthday. He’s most famous for getting punched in the face by Billy Martin, igniting a bench-clearing brawl.
1992 The Rockies sign free agent slugger Andres Galarraga.
1995 The A’s hire a new manager: Art Howe.
1999 Colorado trades Darryl Kile to St. Louis in a seven player trade. The Rockies get Jose Jimenez in return.
1999 Toronto releases catcher Mike Matheny. He'll go on to have a very nice career after this.
2001 Baltimore releases longtime outfielder Brady Anderson.
2001 A Minnesota judge issues a temporary injunction ordering the Twins to play their full home schedule and says team owner Carl Pohlard can’t sell the team to someone to move it elsewhere.
2004 The Nationals sign free agents Vinny Castilla and Cristian Guzman. This doesn’t go well for them.
2005 Broadcaster Ralph Edwards dies at age 92. He’s the voice that launched the Jimmy Fund, the kids cancer fund that the Red Sox have long favored.
2006 The Mets sign free agent Damion Easley.
2010 Florida trades Dan Uggla to the Braves.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.