Colorado Rockies trade anniversary: Acquiring one of the best starting pitchers in franchise history

Twelve years ago today, the Colorado Rockies made a trade that later got them their future ace, Jorge De La Rosa.

On this day in 2008, the Colorado Rockies traded reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. That player was announced a little over a month later and it was Jorge De La Rosa.

Ramirez, who was entering his age 26 season, had a rough 2007 season for the Rockies out of the bullpen. After a great rookie season in 2006 in which he pitched to a 3.46 ERA in 61 appearances, Ramirez saw his ERA balloon to 8.31 in 22 appearances. Therefore, the Rockies decided to trade him to the Royals.

De La Rosa, who was entering his age 27 season, had played in the majors in parts of four seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Royals. In 2007, De La Rosa was one of the main starters for former Rockies manager, Buddy Bell, who had moved on to the Royals in ’05. De La Rosa, though, struggled mightily, as did most of the Royals, who went 69-93 in 2007.

De La Rosa went 8-12 with a 5.83 ERA in 26 games (23 starts). He had an ERA+ of 79, a WHIP of 1.638, and a FIP of 5.27 so his peripheral numbers were not particularly great either. He hadn’t pitched particularly well in 2006 either, when De La Rosa spent the season split between Milwaukee and Kansas City, as he pitched to an ERA of 6.49 and a 5.88 FIP in 28 appearances (13 starts).

After the trade, Ramirez pitched very well for the Royals as he pitched to a 2.64 ERA (2.84 FIP) in 71 appearances out of the Royals bullpen. The Royals traded him after the 2008 season to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Coco Crisp. They later traded him to the eventual-World Champion San Francisco Giants in 2010. He bounced around to a few other MLB teams with his last MLB action coming in 2014.

De La Rosa became the ace for the Rockies during their lean years of the early 2010s. In nine seasons with the Rockies, he pitched to an 86-61 record with an ERA of 4.35 (105 ERA+) and a FIP of 4.24. De La Rosa had to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2011 so it knocked out most of his 2011 and 2012 seasons.

He returned to pitch the best three seasons of his career. From 2013 to 2015, he went 39-24 with an ERA of 3.92 with 88 starts with an ERA+ of 113 and a FIP of 4.10. He saw a major decline in 2016, though, as he pitched to a 5.51 ERA in 27 appearances (24 starts).

The Rockies let him go via free agency and De La Rosa signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks as a reliever. He pitched to a 3.77 ERA out of the D’Backs and Cubs bullpen in 2017 and 2018.

De La Rosa signed with the Rockies again in April 2019 and was hoping to return to majors again with the Rockies. However, due to an oblique injury, he never made an appearance in the majors or minors. The Rockies released him on June 7. De La Rosa will turn 39 years old on April 5 so it is likely that De La Rosa’s swan song was the 2018 season.

Next: Podcast: Memories of the franchise’s early days

It was a small trade but the trade worked out well for both sides. For the Rockies, though, it ended up being better for them because it gave them a solid starting pitcher and their ace for the better part of a decade.

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