It is a sad day in Colorado, but a sign of the Rockies moving forward as a club.
Clint Barmes, a major part of the Rockies rebuilding process that landed the club in the 2007 World Series, was traded to the Houston Astros for starting pitcher Felipe Paulino.
Paulino is a talented right handed pitcher who has struggled in the big leagues. He throws hard, but hasn't been able to put together a good enough campaign to make his acquisition anywhere near a blockbuster deal. In 2010 he went 1-9 with a 5.11 ERA. Those numbers sound horrible, but there is still upside.
Regardless of the player who the Rockies received, the fact is, before the end of the month, Barmes was most likely going to be non-tendered by the club and made a free agent, essentially ensuring that the Rockies got nothing out of him. Therefore, getting even an average pitcher for him is a win for the Rockies.
For the few Rockies fans who were there suffering through the bad days at Coors Field in the early part of the 2000's, watching Barmes leave is hard to take. His walk off home run against Trevor Hoffman on Opening Day in 2005 was a sign of good things to come for an organization that had been mired in a build-from-within mentality that was ushered in with the failed signings of Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle.
While the 2005 season crashed and burned just days after the Barmes walk off home run, it was the first glimpse into what became "Gen R," the first round of home-grown talent that has made the Rockies a team worth watching again.
It is sad to see Barmes go. In a world full of athletes who think that they are pretty important, dubbing themselves "King James" and pounding on their chests when they do anything good, Barmes was old school. He worked hard and maximized his talent. He was always willing to talk to the media and he never acted too good for anyone.
The move to trade Barmes, or release him, which would have come had the trade not happened, is sad, but is something that is a good thing for Rockies fans.
It is fun to watch guys like Barmes work hard and have some success. It is fun to watch players work their tail off to prove that they belong in the big leagues. However, the move shows that the Rockies have moved beyond the days of needing to have players with limited talent play every single day.
Seeing Barmes go means that the Rockies have grown sufficient talent in their minor league system that the days of Brent Butler, Jamey Carroll, Omar Quintanilla, and Cory Sullivan are over. Those guys were fun to watch because of their work ethic, but the reality is, they are not the types of players who are going to bring a championship to Coors Field.
If, however, the Rockies are able to bring a title home to Colorado in the near future, there is no doubt that guys like Barmes and all of the other players who worked hard but will never appear on MVP ballots should feel a part of that championship. Their work ethic and their attitudes have helped shape what has become the Colorado Rockies, a team that is no longer a perennial loser, but a team that can be taken seriously.
For that, Rockies fans will be forever indebted to Clint Barmes and all of the other players who ushered in the winning era of the Colorado Rockies.