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Thursday Rockpile, Past & Present Edition: When roster moves backfire

Looking at how some notable in-season roster moves have affected past Rockies teams.

Rob Scahill's promotion did not go as planned against the Astros last night.
Rob Scahill's promotion did not go as planned against the Astros last night.

Before last night's game, the Rockies sent Charlie Blackmon to AAA and promoted Rob Scahill to the big club. In the very short term, that move backfired completely, with the team burning through it's newly shortened bench and Scahill coughing up the winning runs in a 6-3 loss to Houston. With the talk of roster moves fresh, here's a look at how some significant roster moves in franchise history affected the team at the time:

Promoting Carlos Gonzalez (June 2009)

One of the first significant moves Jim Tracy made as Rockies manager was to promote Gonzalez, the centerpiece of the Matt Holliday trade, to the big leagues. The Rockies actually won each of the first eight games in which CarGo participated, though it wasn't much thanks to him. He put up a nightmarish .574 OPS in his first month in Denver, going 13-for-67 (.194) with a lone home run and just six walks during that stretch. He did straighten things out, however, finishing 2009 with a .284/.353/.529 line with 13 home runs in 317 plate appearances.

Batting Troy Tulowitzki cleanup (August 2009)

This one isn't technically a roster move, but it was another significant change Tracy made during the 2009 season. With Tulo hitting .270/.361/.525 in August, Tracy moved him to the spot in the batting order in which he's remained for essentially his entire career. Tulo was 14-for-41 (.341) in his first 10-game stretch batting fourth, with three home runs, 10 RBI and a cycle. The team was 6-4 in that stretch. Tulowitzki had 220 plate appearances batting fourth in 2009, putting up a line of .344/.414/.610 with a dozen home runs and 41 RBI. He has hit .316/.384/.570 from the cleanup spot in his career.

Promoting Ubaldo Jimenez (July 2007)

The Rockies were 48-46 in 2007 when Ubaldo Jimenez was recalled from Colorado Springs to replace the injured Rodrigo Lopez. Jimenez pitched five innings in his 2007 debut (he did throw 7 2/3 innings as a September call up in 2006), allowing two runs on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in a 5-4 Rockies loss. The Rockies were 7-8 in Ubaldo's 15 regular season starts in 2007 as he pitched 82 innings with a 4.28 ERA, 37 walks and 68 punch outs. He also started in Rockies wins in both the NLDS and NLCS in 2007.

Trading away Larry Walker (August 2004)

The Rockies were 47-61 in 2004 when the last of the Blake Street Bombers departed Coors Field. The 38-year-old Walker was traded from the struggling Rockies to the eventual NL champion Cardinals for players to be named later and cash in early August; he had hit .324/.464/.630 in 138 plate appearances with the Rockies in '04. The Rockies went on to win the first two series they played without Walker, the move allowing Jeromy Burnitz to move to right field and Matt Holliday to get regular playing time in left for the first time in his career. The Rockies finished the season with a 21-33 mark after the Walker trade.

Promoting Todd Helton (August 1997)

With 36-year-old Andres Galarraga's contract set to expire at the end of the 1997 season, the Rockies called up his heir apparent for the last two months of the campaign. The Rockies were 52-58 when Helton made his big league debut, and proceeded to lose each of the first three games he started, despite Helton going 5-for-11 with a pair of home runs in those contests. The Rockies were 20-15 in games in which Helton appeared in 1997, 11-10 in his starts, with Helton posting a .280/.337/.484 line with five home runs and 11 RBI in 101 plate appearances.

Obviously the Scahill/Blackmon move was not of the magnitude of any of these changes, but the wide variety of short-term results in the above examples goes to show that jumping to conclusions about a player or a move is often a bad idea.