Before I begin, I would like to wish a Happy Fourth of July to everyone in the U.S. and a Happy July 4th (it is still that date) to the rest of the world. July has always been my favorite month for many reasons. As a kid, it was the month that was furthest away from school and I have always preferred warm weather. In baseball season, July is my favorite month for one particular reason...the trade deadline. I love the season of buyers and sellers and old faces in new places. In the early years the Rockies were relatively quiet at the deadline, but there were a few deals made in the last week of July. Throughout this month, I will be shining the spotlight on these deadline deals and seeing whether the trade was beneficial for the Rockies, the other team, or both (or neither for that matter).
Let's start with the rare deal in which the Rockies were the buyers.
July 31, 1995
Rockies receive Mets receive
Bret Saberhagen Juan Acevedo
David Swanson Arnold Gooch
Bret Saberhagen was acquired to be the ace that the Rockies had never had. He is, to this day, the only Cy Young Award winner to ever wear the Rockies uniform. Saberhagen started 9 games down the stretch for the Rockies and had a 2-1 record with a gaudy 6.28 ERA. While Saberhagen was not that beneficial for Colorado with regards to stats, his veteran leadership and presence probably helped quite a bit. It didn't hurt because Colorado ended up winning the Wild Card in 1995 before losing in the playoff to Atlanta.
The following season did not work out that well for Saberhagen. He injured his shoulder and had major surgery which cost him the entire 1996 season. The Rockies allowed him to leave via free agency after the season.
David Swanson was a pitcher that was selected in the 9th round pick in the 1991 draft. He was originally a starter, but was converted to a reliever before he was traded to the Rockies. He never made it out of Class A and was let go at the end of the 1995 season.
Juan Acevedo was Colorado's #2 prospect in 1995 (#55 overall) and had already seen the majors earlier in 1995 with moderate success. The Mets took their time with him. He went to the minors and spent the rest of 1995, all of 1996, and a good chunk of 1997 with AAA Norfolk. They called up in mid-1997 and he pitched in 25 games, mostly in relief. After the 1997 season the Mets traded him to St. Louis for Rigo Beltran, who was later traded to the Rockies in a deadline deal. Ah, the circle of life. Acevedo pitched in the majors until 2003, including a second stint with the Rockies. As of 2012, he is still active in the Mexican League at the age of 42.
Arnold Gooch, who has an awesome name, was a 9th round pick in the 1994 draft. He was a very young starting pitcher in Class A. He lasted in the Mets organization until 1998 making it as high as AA Binghamton.
Saberhagen never became the staff ace that he was acquired to be, but the Rockies made the playoffs. Acevedo never quite lived up to his top prospect billing, although he did have a decent career as a journeyman middle reliever. The minor leaguers are an obvious push.
I will give an ever so slight win to the Rockies on the basis of a playoff berth, although it was close to being a push.
Thanx for reading.