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Constructing the Rockies All-Trade team

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Sunday, July 18, 2021

Trade season is rearing its head once again and while the rumors swirl around the Rockies and their impending decisions with several key players, it’s never too late to look on the bright sides of trades.

Today, we’ll construct a team of Rockies players that were acquired via trade. The only requirements to make the team are for the player to not be originally drafted by the Rockies and acquired only through a deal with another team (which includes purchasing them from another team). Without further ado, let’s meet the Rockies All-Trade team!

Catcher: Yorvit Torrealba (Acquired from Mariners, 2005)

While Chris Iannetta has the current distinction of the Rockies' most prominent homegrown catcher, Yorvit Torrealba is high in the ranks in franchise folklore. In a trade with Seattle for Marcos Carvajal at the end of 2005, Torrealba was promptly slotted into the Rockies’ lineup as the starting catcher, displaying some of the best defense behind the dish the franchise has ever seen. From 2006 to 2009, Torrealba batted .258/.316/.394 and posted a 1.4 bWAR, and was the primary catcher during the 2007 run to the World Series.

First base: John Vander Wal (Purchased from Expos, 1994)

I know what you’re thinking, but no, I did not break my own requirements to include John Vander Wal, because the exchange of money for a player from another team counts as a trade to me. Vander Wal played enough of the position to qualify defensively, but it’s his bat that truly snags his spot on the team. He is one the best pinch hitters in Rockies history, setting a single-season record for pinch hits in 1995 with 27. Across five seasons in Colorado, he batted .262/.349/.444 with a 1.4 bWAR.

Second base: DJ LeMahieu (Acquired from Cubs, 2011)

Ranking among one of the best trades in franchise history, the Rockies traded Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers to the Cubs in exchange for Tyler Colvin and DJ LeMahieu. Combining Gold Glove-worthy defense and a reliable bat, LeMahieu shined for the Rockies across seven seasons, batting .299/.352/.408 while recording a 16.6 bWAR in purple. In 2016 he won the National League batting title with a .348 average and was a two-time All-Star. It’s no doubt LeMahieu will go down as one of the best second basemen to ever play for the team, all thanks to the Cubs.

Third base: Jeff Cirillo (Acquired from Brewers, 1999)

Despite just two seasons played in Colorado, Jeff Cirillo had some of the best seasons of his 14-year career in Denver. Just before the turn of the century, the Rockies were involved in a three-team trade with Milwaukee and Oakland that netted them Scott Karl and Cirillo. In the 2000 season, he posted a career-high in RBIs (115), runs (111) and doubles (53), while collecting 195 hits for a .326 batting average. During his two seasons in purple pinstripes, Cirillo recorded a quality 7.9 bWAR and played solid defense while receiving an All-Star selection in 2000.

Shortstop: Omar Quintanilla (Acquired from Athletics, 2005)

Like Vander Wal, this position also took a little creativity. The Rockies have had a solid history of mostly homegrown shortstops that are good hitters, with a strong mixture of utility infielders. I went with Omar Quintanilla strictly for his defensive abilities, even though there are a few other options that provide a little better offensive output. Acquired from Oakland along with Eric Byrnes in July of 2005, Quintanilla spent five years on the Rockies’ roster. He sported a .987 fielding percentage at short and tallied 11 defensive runs saved at the position amidst sporadic play. Regardless of his .220 average with the Rockies, his glove made up for it plenty.

Left field: Carlos González (Acquired from Athletics, 2008)

When Matt Holliday was traded to Oakland during the offseason of 2008, fans were understandably concerned because they didn’t want to see Holliday leave. However, despite trading away a homegrown slugger, the Rockies managed to acquire a solid closer in Huston Street and a new franchise icon in Carlos González. Across 10 years, CarGo batted .290/.349/.516 with 227 home runs, 769 runs, 749 RBI, with a 23.8 bWAR. Not only did CarGo accumulate a few Silver Slugger awards, but he was a three-time All-Star and a defensive wizard with three Gold Glove awards on his resume. For a long stretch in his Rockies career, González was a true five-tool player, and that’s a rare trade find.

Center field: Willy Taveras (Acquired from Astros, 2006)

Another staple of the 2007-08 Rockies teams, Willy Taveras was a strong leadoff hitter when healthy. Acquired along with Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz in exchange for Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio, Taveras posted a 1.1 bWAR in 230 games. In two seasons with Colorado, Taveras posted a .333 on-base percentage and also stole 101 bases, including a league-leading 68 in 2008. He served his purpose of keeping the spot warm until Dexter Fowler was ready to take over center field in 2009, and he’ll serve nicely for our team here.

Right field: Dante Bichette (Acquired from Brewers, 1992)

Yes, the Rockies made a trade for a franchise icon in their infant days. Not long after selecting Kevin Reimer in the expansion draft, Rockies manager Don Baylor then convinced his bosses to trade Reimer to Milwaukee for Dante Bichette because Baylor had worked with him as a hitting coach. The rest is history as Bichette hit the first home run in Rockies history, became a four-time All-Star, was a key member of the Blake Street Bombers and had the sweetest mullet in Colorado. Over seven years, Bichette batted .316/.352/.540 with a 4.8 bWAR.

Starting pitcher: Jorge De La Rosa (Acquired from Royals, 2008)

Germán Márquez is quickly gaining on him, but Jorge De La Rosa is still one of the best players to be named later that the Rockies have traded for. Over nine seasons with the Rockies, he posted a respectable 4.35 ERA while managing to conquer Coors Field. His 15.5 bWAR ranks third among pitchers in franchise history where you’ll find his name near the top of many other pitching categories.

Closer: Brian Fuentes (Acquired from Mariners, 2001)

When Jeff Cirillo was traded to the Mariners following the 2001 season, the Rockies acquired left-handed pitcher Brian Fuentes in return. In seven seasons with Colorado, Fuentes set the franchise record in saves with 115, while recording a 3.38 ERA and a 9.8 bWAR. Fuentes also has the designation of being the only Rockies pitcher to be named an All-Star multiple times from 2005-2007.

We know the organization has had a lot of swings and misses when it comes to trades, but a deeper look into the weeds can yield some good results. Through trades, the Rockies have been able to add quality contributors and franchise icons.

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Before Rockies MLB’s farm system, they’ll have to build their own first | The Denver Post ($)

Interim general manager Bill Schmidt made quite a stir this week when he told Patrick Saunders, “We are not a farm system for other people.” The Grading the Week team at The Denver Post also expands on a retort to that idea by shining a light on some of the players that have left the Rockies and gone on to greener pastures. It’s also important to realize that the Rockies have one of the shallowest prospect pools in baseball (as ranked on MLB.com), and the pool could benefit from being replenished.

Potential trades for Rockies SP Jon Gray | Sodo Mojo

Along with Trevor Story, Jon Gray is also a key trading chip at the Rockies' disposal. This Mariners blog outlines a few trade ideas that could see a Seattle team in playoff contention bolster their rotation with a valuable arm like Gray. It’s an intriguing thought, but as is the case with Story, the Rockies will need to have a worthy package for their homegrown talent.

On the Farm

Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes 10, Sugar Land Skeeters 7

It was another rough night for Dereck Rodríguez as he gave up seven runs on nine hits in 3 13 innings of work, but that was all Sugar Land could get as the bullpen shut the door and the offense came alive for Albuquerque. José Briceño, Alan Trejo, and Greg Bird all went yard on the night to power the offense with Connor Joe adding another multi-hit night to his strong 2021 season.

Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats 7, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5 (F/10)

Say what you will about the extra-innings runner rule, but it worked in favor of Hartford as they bounced back to win 7-5 over the Fisher Cats. With Matt Hearns on second, Willie MacIver was hit by pitch, setting up a walk-off three-run homer for Sean Bouchard to win the ball game. Pitching was strong for Hartford as Ryan Feltner walked the tightrope, allowing three runs while scattering 10 hits in 6 23 innings. Todd Reagan struggled at the backend, blowing the save and allowing the go-ahead run in extras, but the offense was able to bail him out.

High-A: Eugene Emeralds 10, Spokane Indians 9

Spokane’s comeback came up just short in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run on second. Breiling Eusebio struggled on the mound for Spokane, giving up seven runs in just 2 23 innings of work. Spokane slowly chipped away at Eugene’s lead thanks to the efforts of players like Hunter Stovall. On the night Stovall had three hits including a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies 16, Stockton Ports 5 (Game 1)

Fresno came out in full force in the first game of the doubleheader scoring 16 runs on 14 hits. Notably, Zac Veen led the charge with three hits, including his eighth home run of the season and Grant Lavigne drove in four with a multi-hit night including his sixth home run of the year. Sam Weatherly put in a quality start, allowing two runs on three hits in 4 13 innings of work.

Fresno Grizzlies 3, Stockton Ports 2 (Game 2)

While game one had the offensive highlights, game two had the pitching highlights for Fresno. Andrew DiPiazza threw five strong innings for Fresno, allowing two runs on one hit to tally his third win of the season. The bullpen would combine to allow just one other hit to Stockton and seal the victory. Zac Veen tallied another two hits in the game while Ezequiel Tovar drove in a pair of runs.

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