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A’s Trade for Colorado’s Seth Smith

Posted By Josh Muller On Jan 16 2012 @ 5:17 pm In Oakland A's | 2 Comments

The Oakland A’s [1] have traded for Rockies [2] outfielder Seth Smith in a deal that sends pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman to the Rockies.

When I look at this deal independently from the surrounding events of the A’s offseason, it’s a pretty good deal. Oakland clearly receives the best player that fills a position of need and he comes at a decent price for the next couple of years.

However, it isn’t my job to look at these moves independently and when you couple this trade with all the other action from the A’s the last month or so, it just doesn’t make sense to me.

First off, Moscoso and Outman have given the A’s some valuable innings as starters the past year and certainly could do the same this season. They’re going to need those innings too, because at least at the beginning of 2012, the A’s won’t have a lot of cemented names in their rotation. Dallas Braden is hardly a sure thing to rejoin the staff as he rehabs his shoulder and Brett Anderson won’t be back until the second half of the season at the earliest because of his Tommy John surgery. And if I running the A’s I would hold most of the pitchers acquired through trades this offseason in the minors for the early part of the year, insuring an extra year of service time for said players as a result.

The other reason I’m not too high on this deal is the timing and the implications it has on our other young outfielders. Smith is a damn good player, but he isn’t close to the kind of player that will vault the A’s into relevance and his numbers will almost certain to decline as he leaves the hitter’s haven of Coors Field for the hitters graveyard that is the Oakland Coliseum. He’s a nice corner outfielder who has a little pop in his bat, but struggles against left-handed pitching (yes, Smith is also left-handed). And more importantly, this means that the A’s are once again not going to give Michael Taylor a shot at regular playing time.

I’ve been following Taylor for some time now and have always thought that he would one day break out and put all his ridiculous tools together to become a very good major leaguer. But in acquiring Smith, Taylor is the odd man out. Now, to be fair, Taylor has hardly earned a shot at being a starter, but he isn’t getting any younger (he’s 26) so his window of opportunity is closing fast. I thought this would once and for all be the year the A’s give Taylor an extended look and see what they have in him. But I guess I was wrong. They’ll probably use him as a fourth outfielder to play against left-handed pitchers since the newly acquired A’s, Smith and Josh Reddick, both have had well documented struggles against southpaws.

I want to be clear. I like Seth Smith, but just don’t think he’ll help the offense enough to make a difference. And though Moscoso and Outman probably weren’t in Oakland’s long term plans, they would have been very useful as innings eaters in the first half of 2012. But ultimately, the A’s got the player with the most value and could use that in another trade down the road.

 

Oakland Adds Colon and Re-ups Crisp. The A’s resigned centerfielder Coco Crisp with a two year deal worth $14 million and a team option for a third year. The A’s overpaid a bit here, but not by a lot and it shouldn’t matter anyway because everyone else on the team is young and underpaid. So it’s all good.

Crisp was resigned because if the A’s were to let him walk, they wouldn’t have received any draft compensation like they did with Josh Willingham and David Dejesus. Crisp adds some veteran depth to what was a wide open outfield.

And in an increasingly important signing, the A’s also added veteran starter Bartolo Colon for one year at $2 million. Colon has killed the A’s for years, most notably as a member of the Angels and can still light up the radar gun even at age 39. I’ve been reading a lot of A’s message boards/ blog posts and most of the comments condemn the signing saying he is overweight and too old. While that’s true, I couldn’t disagree more. I think it’s a great signing, especially considering we gave up two potential starters today, and Colon should provide some much needed innings. If he can stay healthy even for the first half of 2012, the signing will be well worth it.

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[2] Rockies: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/sports/mlb-baseball/colorado-rockies/

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