As our season of misery continues, often Rockies fanatics have to resort to trivial pursuits to keep themselves distracted from the carnage on the field. One of my favorite pastimes is to monitor transaction links, hence my statement earlier in the week that the Day and Davis acquisitions (along with Byung Hyun Kim) keeps the very expensive and as of yet not too fruitful Mike Hampton tree alive for a little while longer. The Joe Kennedy to Oakland deal helps keep a more pocketbook friendly tree going, on May 19, 2001 the New York Mets traded with Cleveland for Justin Speier. Ten days later they unwisely placed him on waivers as part of a roster reconfiguration and the Rockies snatched him up. When they sent Speier to Toronto as part of the three team deal with Tampa, I doubt any of us thought we would eventually net a young promising middle infielder like Quintanilla plus Eric Byrnes out of it.
Anyway, not all of our deals work out so well, in fact, Dan O'Dowd's tenure has been about as friendly to our transaction ecosystem as Exxon/Mobil is to the real one. Er... maybe I shouldn't go there. Oops, too late, there goes that sponsorship... What I'm trying to say is that many of O'Dowd's moves have ended up withering with player releases or unreimbursed free agencies on our end of things, while the players leaving seem to go onto better things. Take, for example, the first Vinny Castilla transaction tree. In 1992 we drafted Castilla with the fortieth pick of the expansion draft from the Atlanta Braves. Vinny goes on to do great things for us before Dan O' Dowd comes in and shakes things up by trading him away for Rolando Arrojo and Aaron Ledesma. Ledesma didn't amount to much and was eventually let go. Arrojo meanwhile is shipped off with Rich Croushore, Mike Lansing and cash to Boston for Brian Rose, Jeff Frye and John Wasdin. Frye and Wasdin also were flashes in the pan and little else while Rose was traded for Mark Leiter who was flipped with the since re-acquired Elvis Pena and Mike DeJean to Milwaukee for Kane Davis, Juan Acevedo and Jose Flores. The thread ended however when Flores and Davis signed with other teams and Acevedo was traded for the since released minor leaguer Josue Espada.
Whew! Usually the longest lasting trees aren't as complicated. The Rockies' most enduring living transaction tree started when we drafted Curtis Leskanic a bit later in that same 1992 expansion draft. Leskanic eventually brought us Mike Myers, who when moved to Arizona returned to us Jack Cust and then minor league catcher J.D. Closser. The other long standing tree in the Rockies system started the following July (1993) when Jamey Wright was our first round draft pick. Wright was eventually traded in the deal with Milwaukee which brought us Jeff Cirillo, who in turn brought us a package of pitchers from Seattle, including Brian Fuentes. Now Wright's back to start a second tree that grows just as well, hopefully.
So having said all this, will Melky Cabrera be the result of a Chacon/Witasick/Speier graft? Sigh, hopefully if so, Cabrera will someday help bring a pennant race to keep me entertained instead.