Rockies get Julio, send Kim to Florida
Former Orioles closer acquired in exchange for veteran
DENVER -- The Rockies traded struggling pitcher Byung-Hyung Kim to the Marlins on Sunday afternoon, getting struggling reliever Jorge Julio in return.Julio had a rough start for the Marlins this season, posting an 0-2 record and a 12.54 ERA in 10 appearances spanning 9 1/3 innings. He was on the disabled list with a strained right calf from April 18 to May 3. The 28-year-old was at his peak as a closer for the Orioles from 2002-2004, when he saved 83 games. He also pitched for the Diamondbacks and Mets before joining the Marlins in a Spring Training trade with Arizona for starter Yusmeiro Petit. He was originally slated as Florida's closer. "I'm fine. I stayed in focus all the time," said Julio of his troubles this season and his efforts to regain command of his fastball. "I know this game. I know baseball here. It's work, and this is my job. Wherever I go, I want to do my job."
Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said he'd touched base with almost every club in looking for trade options and settled on the Marlins with hopes Julio could help solidify a bullpen plagued by injuries."We saw Julio this weekend," O'Dowd said Sunday. "Obviously, he gave up a granny [grand slam] yesterday, but Marc [Gustafson, director of player development] actually thought his delivery was a little better. We've got some work to do." The Rockies optioned Denny Bautista and Alberto Arias to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make way for Julio and returning reliever Ramon Ramirez, who made his second rehab appearance for the Sky Sox on Sunday.
"Juilio's got some experience," manager Clint Hurdle said of the 20th pitcher to join his 12-man staff this season. "He's had his most success setting up. He's not on top of his game right now -- we wouldn't have gotten him if he was. He's a guy with some experience. It's a good way for us to see if we can catch something."
Kim also had a rough start to his season, pitching out of the bullpen for the Rockies. He was 1-2 with a 10.50 ERA, including a spot start in place of Rodrigo Lopez before going on the disabled list with a thumb contusion suffered while hitting.In five rehab starts with Triple-A Colorado Springs, Kim went 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA, holding opponents to a .233 batting average. The rehab assignment was designed to prepare Kim for the flexibility to either start or relieve somewhere, and though the Rockies weren't inclined to put him back in their rotation, his potential to join a starting staff was a big part of Florida's attraction. "I think it's a good opportunity for B.K. to go somewhere else," O'Dowd said, emphasizing that the Rockies had not expected to bring Kim back to the big-league club. The 28-year-old was in his third season with the Rockies, taking a 13-24 record and a 5.23 ERA with Colorado into the season. He had gone back and forth between starting and relieving in 2005, then was a mainstay in the Rockies rotation in 2006, never missing a start once he joined the rotation in late April. Kim was the closer on Arizona's World Series championship team in 2001 and pitched for the Red Sox during their championship campaign in 2004.
The Marlins were responsible for $2.5 million of Julio's $3.6 million contract, with Arizona taking on the remaining $1.1 million. Kim has a $2.5 million contract, so the trade left both teams even from a financial perspective, with both Julio and Kim eligible for free agency at the end of 2007.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Joe Frisaro contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.