#6: Kevin Reimer to the Milwaukee Brewers for Dante Bichette
After the ambiguity of the last trade on the list, we could use a simple “this team won, this team lost” kind of trade, and Reimer for Bichette definitely qualifies.
Reimer was the 9th pick overall, and Colorado’s 5th pick, of the 1992 expansion draft, but later that same day, they traded Reimer to the Milwaukee Brewers (still an American League franchise at the time) for Bichette.
At the time, nothing about the trade seemed odd. Both players were corner outfielders in their late 20s with middling career numbers. Colorado was Bichette’s third organization in four years. After posting a .254 batting average and just 38 home runs in his first five MLB seasons, it wasn’t clear that he would even stick in the majors when Colorado acquired him.
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Well, if you’re familiar with Rockies history, you probably already know what happened next. Bichette became the backbone of one of baseball’s most explosive offenses, putting up a .316/.352/.540 slash line over his seven years with the organization. His best season came in 1995; Bichette hit .340, clubbed 40 home runs, led all of baseball with 128 RBI, and finished a close second behind Barry Larkin for NL MVP.
In addition to his consistent offensive production, Bichette was also remarkably durable during his tenure with Colorado. On average, he played 145 games per season while with Colorado, and that number is even higher if you don’t include the strike-shortened 116-game season in 1994. There may have been better players in the 90s, but few were more reliable.
What did Colorado give up in exchange for seven great years from one of the most popular players in franchise history? Very little, as it turns out. Reimer spent one unremarkable season in Milwaukee before he became a free agent and played two seasons in Japan. When Bichette was establishing himself as a star in his breakout 1995 season, Reimer was with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, playing his last season of professional baseball.
This technically wasn’t the first trade in Rockies history (that honor goes to Travis Buckley, acquired from the Montreal Expos eight days earlier), but this was the first big trade “win” for Colorado.