10 biggest trades in Rockies history

December 2nd, 2021

DENVER -- The Rockies found quick success -- a postseason appearance in 1995, their third season in existence -- largely on the expansion draft and free agency. The best years since then have been driven by their Minor League system. Trades, frankly, have been more a backstory than a driving force.

In fact, two trades that didn't happen created almost as big a stir as any deal consummated:

• In late November 2002, a deal with the D-backs fell through when the Rockies' Larry Walker and Arizona's Matt Williams refused to waive no-trade clauses.

• In January 2007, a deal sending Todd Helton -- considered the all-time face of Colorado's franchise -- to the Red Sox, primarily for Mike Lowell, fell through. Helton and Boston met in that year's World Series, which the Red Sox won.

Rockies' trades have often cleared money or made room for younger players. One example was a deal (that didn't crack this top 10) that sent Walker to the Cardinals and cleared money to sign outfielder Dexter Fowler out of the 2004 Draft. While some deals are known more for who departed than who arrived, Colorado has made several deals that simply made it better.

1. Holliday for CarGo
Rockies got: OF , RHP Greg Smith, RHP
Rockies traded: OF Matt Holliday
Date: Nov. 10, 2008

Unable to reach agreement on a multi-year contract with Holliday, a young star, the Rockies shipped him to the Athletics. Colorado scored big with Gonzalez, who over 10 seasons appeared in the All-Star Game and the postseason three times apiece, and won three Gold Glove Awards and two Silver Slugger Awards. Gonzalez and Street helped the Rockies to the 2009 postseason. Holliday flourished after the A's dealt him to the Cardinals at the '08 Deadline.

2. DJ was a hit
Rockies got: 2B DJ LeMahieu, OF
Rockies traded: 3B Ian Stewart, Minor League RHP
Date: Dec. 8, 2011

Other deals were bigger news at the time, but this deal with the Cubs as much as any was a perfect Colorado storm. Stewart flashed big-time potential, and he and Weathers were first-round Draft picks. But LeMahieu was an undervalued gem who earned a trophy case full of defensive awards, was a two-time All-Star and took home a National League batting title in 2016.

3. Tulo was just the beginning of the Story
Rockies got: SS , RHP , Minor League RHPs and
Rockies traded: SS , RHP LaTroy Hawkins
Date: July 28, 2015

Neither Reyes nor Castro were Rockies for long, and Hoffman and Tinoco have yet to establish themselves. But after all the smoke and money (the Blue Jays picked up a big chunk of Tulowitzki's salary) cleared, the result was that Colorado's shortstop position ended up in the hands of budding star .

4. Dante turned hot in Colorado
Rockies got:
OF Dante Bichette
Rockies traded: OF Kevin Reimer
Date: Nov. 17, 1992

Yes, this counts, even though the Rockies were just names rather than a team at the point of this deal. Colorado selected Reimer from the Rangers ninth in the expansion Draft, but at the behest of then-manager Don Baylor dealt him to the Brewers for Bichette -- with whom Baylor had worked as hitting coach previously. Bichette represented the Rockies in four All-Star Games and hit 201 home runs in purple pinstripes.

5. Golden Nolan is gone
Rockies got: LHP , 1B/3B , INF , RHP Tony Locey, RHP Jake Sommers
Cardinals got: 3B and cash considerations

This major deal is foremost in the minds of Rockies fans because of its recency. But since it's still fresh, and the players who landed with the Rockies are so early in their careers, we can set this in the middle of the list and just wait. Gomber, who was having a hard time breaking into the St. Louis rotation, was an immediate positive for the Rockies, and Montero -- always young for where he has played in the Minors -- reached Triple-A in the year of the deal and showed immediate power potential.

6. Jorge hooray
Rockies got:
Rockies traded: RHP Ramon Ramirez
Date: April 30, 2008

For much of De La Rosa's nine seasons with the Rockies after he was acquired from the Royals, Colorado struggled with quality and depth. But De La Rosa's 15.2 wins above replacement (WAR) according to Baseball Reference is third-highest among pitchers in club history, behind and Aaron Cook.

7. Fuentes found his form
Rockies got: LHP Brian Fuentes, RHP Jose Paniagua, RHP Denny Stark
Rockies traded: 3B Jeff Cirillo
Date: Dec. 16, 2001

A 25th-round Draft pick of the Mariners in 1995, Fuentes was the least-heralded player the Rockies received from Seattle for Cirillo, an All-Star in 2000. Fuentes eventually developed into a three-time All-Star and on-and-off closer for Colorado over seven seasons.

8. Marquez hitting the mark
Rockies got: RHP , LHP Jake McGee
Rockies traded: OF Corey Dickerson, Minor League INF Kevin Padlo
Date: Jan. 28, 2016

After landing in Colorado the trade with Tampa Bay, McGee has been up and down over three seasons, and he is looking to bounce back in 2019. Marquez emerged as a young star in '18, when he struck out 230 in 196 innings pitched and earned a Silver Slugger Award as the National League's top hitting pitcher. This deal could end up higher on this list if Marquez keeps producing.

9. Betancourt brought better days
Rockies got: RHP Rafael Betancourt
Rockies traded: Minor League RHP Connor Graham
Date: July 23, 2009

Betancourt spent seven seasons with the Indians and played a key relief role during their 2007 postseason trip. Colorado was looking for bullpen help in '09 and made the deal more than a month before the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Betancourt helped the Rockies win the NL Wild Card that year and went on to make 309 appearances and convert 58 saves in six seasons with Colorado.

10. A mega-contract bust led to a mega-trade
Rockies got:
RHP Vic Darensbourg, INF/OF Pablo Ozuna, C Charles Johnson, OF Preston Wilson
Rockies traded: RHP Mike Hampton, OF Juan Pierre
Date: Nov. 16, 2002

The eight-year, $121 million signing of Hampton worked out for about half of a season before Hampton's effectiveness disappeared into the mountain air. Colorado took a big haul from the Marlins, who flipped Hampton to the Braves. Wilson had an All-Star performance and led the NL in RBIs in 2003, and Pierre eventually helped the Marlins win a World Series.