A’s Interested in Seth Smith?
In the offseason so many moves are dependent upon one thing happening causing another to occur, then like dominoes several moves happen until some other proverbial dam breaks causing another domino effect of moves elsewhere. The Rockies today appear to be close to signing Cody Ross which would give them more outfield depth even after signing Michael Cuddyer this winter. Should such a signing occur it’d free the Rockies to deal Seth Smith who has been on the trade block virtually all winter. A few days ago, Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reported that,
The A’s interest to me is a bit puzzling, while yes given that the A’s were only at five outfielders on the 40-man roster at the time of that quote, and now are down to just four, the A’s could certainly use the services of an outfielder, it seems silly during a rebuild to trade for one who doesn’t seem to be a part of long-term plans. Smith, a solid but not exceptional and not particularly young outfielder (he just turned 29 at season’s end), projects to earn north of $3M this offseason via arbitration. In his roughly three and a half year career he has participated in 487 games for the Rockies owning a .275/.348/.485 line with a decent .360 wOBA and 113 wRC+ being worth 6.7 WAR. He has played all three outfield positions in the Majors, and has spent the most time in right, though he has been best in left. Last season in Denver he posted 1.9 WAR in 533 plate appearances, with a .284/.347/.483 slash line, aided by a generous .320 BABIP.
Smith is fine, but why go for him? The reason isn’t there and while Morosi in his article suggested the A’s need to upgrade their offense and have pitching to spare that didn’t seem to make sense either. Who would you deal to acquire Smith and why would you do that? Then it occurred to me that the Rockies don’t have the strongest of bullpens and could have interest in a reunion with Brian Fuentes or could appreciate the services of Grant Balfour. In this scenario, the move serves Oakland as both a salary dump of needless bullpen pieces for a rebuilding club while also getting a serviceable everyday left fielder for the club – a good motive for a move. It’ll be interesting to see if anything develops and if this indeed is the thinking of Billy Beane.