When most people think of the Colorado Rockies’ trade history, there may not be too many exceptional deals that come to mind. In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into three of the best trades in Rockies history.
Colorado Rockies trade with the Oakland A’s in November 2008
This one is typically near the top of the list when it comes to good Rockies trades. The Rox received outfielder Carlos “CarGo” Gonzalez, relief pitcher Huston Street, and left-handed pitcher Greg Smith. In exchange, the Oakland A’s received outfielder Matt Holliday.
Though Carlos Gonzalez spent most of his 2009 season with the Rockies’ Triple-A club, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, he was eventually called up due to several injuries sustained by the Rockies outfield. Gonzalez slowly found his rhythm as he and the Rockies faced off with the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS that October, in which Gonzalez tied the Rockies’ franchise record for most hits in an NLDS with 10. CarGo also led the league in playoff batting average with .588 over four games. Carlos Gonzalez was overall a good pickup for the Rockies — a solid hitter with good speed. Even though over his 10 seasons with Colorado he held a .287 batting average, his average OPS was more impressive at .858.
Huston Street is one of my personal favorite Rockies closing pitchers. In conversations of Rockies all-time great closers, his name isn’t in the mix nearly often enough. In his 2005 debut with Oakland, he took home the American League Rookie of the Year award. After being traded to the Rockies in 2008, Street was quick to be named closer of the following 2009 season after beating out Manny Corpas for the job. He finished that season with 35 saves out of 37 opportunities, carrying a 3.06 ERA and 70 strikeouts through 61.2 innings. Although, Street struggled in the playoffs that season and devastatingly blew Game 4 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies, giving up three runs with two outs in Philadelphia’s 5-4 win on their way to the series victory. C’est la baseball.
In his three seasons with the Rockies, Street held an above-average ERA of 3.51 and would go on to earn an even better career ERA of 2.95. When it comes to saves, Street is ranked third in Rockies franchise history with 84. He impressively holds the club record for walks per 9 innings with 1.8 and struck out an average of 9.1 hitters per 9 innings pitched.
After being traded to the San Diego Padres in 2011, Street went on to become a two-time All-Star in the 2012 and 2014 seasons before being traded to the Los Angeles Angels, where he would spend the last three-and-change seasons of his career with a painful average ERA of 7.04 before retiring after the 2017 season.
The southpaw pitcher Greg Smith didn’t bring much to the table during his time with the Rockies. Some consider Smith as more of a bonus chip in the trade — a little something extra to sweeten the deal. He missed the first half of the 2009 season with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox due to a shoulder injury and illness. Smith would end that season with only seven starts and 30 innings pitched. He made it to the club right out of spring training in 2010, but only ended up with seven starts on the season, carrying an ugly ERA of 6.23 through 39 innings pitched.
The Rockies club and fans alike had a hard time saying goodbye to outfielder Matt Holliday after his strong 2008 season. Holliday finished that year with an impressive batting average of .321 and an OPS of .947. He also hit 25 dingers and 88 RBI that season. On the upside, the Rockies were able to clear up $13.5 of cap space by shedding Holliday’s contract.