|The Rockies found a new home for 29-year-old corner outfielder Seth Smith after months of trade speculation. They dealt him to the Athletics for lefty Josh Outman and righthander Guillermo Moscoso, a pair of pre-arbitration arms who have modest ceilings but who can pitch in the big leagues right away.
Smith replaces the traded Ryan Sweeney on one of Oakland’s outfield corners, and like Sweeney he’s had difficulty hitting same-sided pitchers. Smith owns a sturdy .881 career OPS versus righthanders but has batted a meager .202/.269/.319 in 239 plate appearances against lefties.
Colorado crowded its outfield picture and made Smith expendable with the offseason signing of free agent Michael Cuddyer and the trade acquisition of Tyler Colvin. Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez will flank center fielder Dexter Fowler while versatile sophomore Charlie Blackmon and Colvin will fill backup roles. Oakland traded Outman and Moscoso in part to clear a 40-man roster spot for recently signed free agent Bartolo Colon. The deal fills needs for both clubs at the big league level while also exposing the players involved to two new ballparks that essentially act as polar opposites.
The Rockies have been among the most active traders since the July 31 deadline, dealing away 2011 regulars such as ace Ubaldo Jimenez, catcher Chris Iannetta, closer Huston Street, third baseman Ian Stewart and now Smith.
|Josh Outman, lhp
Born: Sept. 14, 1984 in St. Louis.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 185. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Central Missouri State.
Career Transactions: Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in 10th round of 2005 draft; signed June 10, 2005 … Traded by Phillies with 2B Adrian Cardenas and OF Matt Spencer to Athletics for RHP Joe Blanton, July 17, 2008 … On disabled list, April 5-Oct. 4, 2010.
After a brief but promising 2009 season which included 12 big league starts, Outman spent all of 2010 and the early part of 2011 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has experience in both the rotation and bullpen, but he seems to fit best in the latter role with the Rockies, who have acquired starters Tyler Chatwood, Drew Pomeranz, Kevin Slowey and Alex White in the last six months alone. Outman figures to get his feet wet in low-leverage relief or in a situational role—he has limited big league lefties to a .179/.230/.236 line over 153 plate appearances—though his role could expand if he pitches well. He sits 91-92 mph and bumps 94 while mixing in a quality low-80s breaking ball that batters don’t pick up right away. Outman has accrued two years of big league service time and has two minor league options remaining.
|Guillermo Moscoso, rhp
Born: Nov. 14, 1983 in Maracay, Venezuela.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. Bats: R. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Signed as nondrafted free agent by Tigers, Jan. 16, 2003 … Traded by Tigers with RHP Carlos Melo to Rangers for C Gerald Laird, Dec. 7, 2008 … Traded by Rangers to Athletics for RHP Ryan Kelly, Jan. 8, 2011.
Moscoso emerged as solid rotation depth for Oakland as a 27-year-old rookie last year, posting a 3.38 ERA in 128 innings. While his surface performance looks encouraging, Moscoso’s peripherals painted a different story. He struck out a below-average 5.2 batters per nine innings while benefiting from Oakland’s sound defense. The scouting reports tell much the same story about Moscoso, a control-oriented righty who pitches at 88-91 mph and complements his fastball with an OK slider and changeup. He’s a mismatch for Coors Field because he’s an extreme flyball pitcher who posted the American League’s lowest groundball percentage on balls in play (26.8) among pitchers with at least 100 innings. (Curiously, fellow Colorado trade pickup Kevin Slowey fared little better at 31.1 percent.) Nonetheless, Moscoso will compete for a rotation spot this spring—he’s out of minor league options—allowing the Rockies the luxury of easing starter Jorge de la Rosa (TJ surgery) back into the mix, while also providing insurance in the event that Drew Pomeranz, Alex White and/or Tyler Chatwood require more minor league time.
|Seth Smith, rf/lf
Age: 29. Bats: L. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration eligible for 2012-14 seasons ($429,000 salary in 2011).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.