The A’s may not have a lot of resources, but they do have plenty of pitching. That commodity was put to the test on Monday, as general manager Billy Beane shipped two of his pitchers to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for something his team lacks: offense.
Oakland shipped pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman to Colorado in exchange for power-hitting outfielder Seth Smith. The Rockies get two very capable starters in Moscoso and Outman, but the A’s aren’t losers in the deal.
With Smith, 29, the A’s outfield finally begins to take shape. Beane apparently likes Smith’s power and even though the outfielder was limited to a platoon role last year with the Rockies, he should get plenty of at-bats in Oakland.
Of course, Smith is leaving the comfy Coors Field for a much more pitcher-friendly ballpark in the cavernous O.co Coliseum. There’s some concern how well Smith will hit in the cavernous Coliseum, but more people will probably be interested in how he handles left-handed starters this season.
He hit .284/.347/.483 with 15 HR and 59 RBIs overall last year with Colorado. Against righties, Smith hit .299/.365/.526 with 14 HR and 47 RBIs last year. Against lefties, Smith wasn’t as impressive, hitting just .217/.272/.304 with a home run and 12 RBIs.
Of course, Smith wasn’t exposed to much left-handed pitching last year. He was, after all, a platoon guy for the Rockies. In addition to those numbers mentioned above, Smith posted a 8.6% BB/9 and a 17.4% K/9 last year along with a .200 ISO and a 115 wRC+ with the Rockies.
It’s expected that Smith, who was limited to just 92 at-bats against lefties last year, will see plenty of lefties this year in Oakland. The rebuilding A’s are figured to roll with Smith in an everyday role this season despite his righty-lefty splits.
With Smith, the A’s 2012 outfield could ultimately end up looking like this: Smith in left, Coco Crisp in center, and Josh Reddick in right. Colin Cowgill, an outfield prospect acquired in the Trevor Cahill trade, could become the team’s fourth outfielder.
Not an incredibly bad outfield, but compared to some of baseball’s elite units, Oakland’s outfield isn’t something to write home about. Beane, as noted in a recent column on SFGate.com, is interested in bringing in other free agent outfielders to help add depth to the team.
Still, acquiring Smith is a good first step towards improving the outfield picture for 2012.