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Padres acquire Seth Smith from A’s for Luke Gregerson

Dec 3, 2013, 4:44 PM EDT

Seth Smith Getty Images

Clearing out their outfield logjam a bit following the deal for Craig Gentry earlier today the A’s have traded Seth Smith to the Padres for reliever Luke Gregerson.

Smith put up some big numbers in Colorado early in his career, but hit just .246 with a .738 OPS in 242 games for Oakland during the past two seasons. It’s unclear exactly what Smith’s role will be in San Diego, although he’s best suited to be a platoon corner outfielder versus right-handed pitching.

Gregerson has posted consistently excellent numbers as a setup man for the Padres, including a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past three seasons and a career strikeout rate of 9.1 per nine innings. However, much like Smith’s numbers were once helped by Coors Field, his career ERA away from pitcher-friendly Petco Park is 3.85.

Billy Beane is on a trade-making tear, including adding Jim Johnson and Gregerson to a bullpen that already had plenty of late-inning options (Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle) even after losing Grant Balfour to free agency.

  1. phillysports1 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    I was just talking about how Oakland needs to get rid of him , sogard and John jaso.
    One down two more to go.

  2. thebadguyswon - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I wish Beane was GM of the Mets.

  3. rawdog2013 - Dec 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Love this move.
    Gregerson is a beast!
    Good luck Seth.

  4. sckrapps - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    That’s a head-scratcher from the Padres side. Seems to be selling low on a guy that had previously generated significant interest in exchange for a platoon OF.

    • clydeserra - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      relievers aren’t going to get much.

      Smith has more value than Weeks.

    • whereyaat - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      Exactly – the Padres have plenty of average OFs, I don’t see how this helps their situation. They could have gotten more for Gregerson at the trade deadline perhaps. This kind of struck me as a “at least we’ll get something for Gregerson” kind of deal. The dude is a great setup man.

    • schlom - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      Since Carlos Quentin will probably miss half the season with injuries the Padres need a decent 4th outfielder.

      • smoothaswilkes - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        True. You’d think Gregerson was worth more than a “decent 4th outfielder” though, right?

    • Patrick R. - Dec 3, 2013 at 6:49 PM

      At first, it seems like a total headscratcher, but the more I think about the move, the more I’m okay with it. Gregerson was very good, but he’s also still a reliever, prone to volatility. I think he’ll play well in Oakland with his flyball tendencies, as he did in Petco, but the Padres have a ton of power pitcher types in the upper minors who don’t have quite enough starter potential, but more than enough potential to be a tough, cheap reliever. Also, I like the versatility Seth Smith adds. He can platoon with Carlos Quentin (who doesn’t need a platoon partner, but can’t be counted on for more than 400 plate appearances, and more days off might help him last longer throughout the season) and just generally exist. How much can one actually get in exchange for a reliever? Not a whole lot.

      • ptfu - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        It comes down to the Padres giving up an arb year of Luke Gregerson for an arb year of Seth Smith. Dollars will end up about the same. I think the A’s come out slightly ahead but I’m not going to get fired up over a year of control for each.

        I agree that Gregerson’s good, but the Padres have plenty of arms to replace (most of?) his production.

        I assume the Padres outfield will be:
        Carlos Quentin
        Cameron Maybin
        Will Venable (L)
        Chris Denorfia
        Seth Smith (L)

        Also, at some point Reymond Fuentes and Rymer Liriano will need a chance to play. Given Quentin’s fragility, that will be sooner rather than later.

        Seth Smith plays better defense than Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman, the guys he’s competing with for that fifth OF spot. Smith also gives them a second lefthand-hitting outfielder (after Venable) for more platoon fun. No, Amarista really doesn’t count as a hitter or an outfielder, and hopefully this means seeing less of him out there.

        As an aside, this might be the end of the line for Blanks and Guzman, barring an injury. They look better at 1B but I imagine the Padres’ backup infield slots will go to Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe.

    • gloccamorra - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Gregerson has a killer slider, but his fastball velocity has been dropping the last couple years, and his curve is average. He’s a year from free agency and projected to make $4.9 million in arbitration, high for a setup man. Smith is also a year from FA and projected to make $4.3 million.

      The Padres had a terrible record against righties and needed a lefty bat, and have nine potential starting pitchers, some of whom will be stashed in the bullpen. The A’s have a surplus of outfielders and another reliever won’t hurt. Gregerson could also be flipped at the deadline for payroll relief.

      The two teams just swapped guys who are getting overpaid for their roles and made it easier to let their “new” guys go than the ones they traded.

  5. Joe - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Smith put up some big numbers in Colorado early in his career, but hit just .246 with a .738 OPS in 242 games for Oakland during the past two seasons.

    That’s pretty astute analysis right there.

    Seth Smith’s OPS+
    109 Career
    109 Colorado
    107 Oakland

  6. aceinthehole12 - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Loving everything Beane has been doing the past few days ! Can’t wait to see the green and gold in 2014.

  7. APBA Guy - Dec 3, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Very positive about this move. Gregerson, unlike the bullpen filler we discussed in earlier deals, can help late in the game. He may close, he may not, he may share the role with Cook, Doolittle and Johnson, but having those 4 at the back means one guy can rest almost every day, keeping the bunch fresh.

    • ptfu - Dec 3, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      Oh yeah. You are going to like watching Gregerson and his array of sliders. Those things are filthy nasty.

  8. sisqsage - Dec 3, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    Glad to be seeing Gregerson leave the NL West.
    Yes, he’s been very good, but what did he help the Pads win exactly all these years? They have been weak in so many other areas he has been a luxury that is better used as trade bait to get better elsewhere on the roster. It’s like Romo last year with the Giants. He was great, but he ended up sitting and watching for several games in one losing skid after another because their defense and declining starting pitching had already lost the game by the late innings, negating the need for him.

  9. sawxalicious - Dec 3, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    The A’s win this trade…

    • gloccamorra - Dec 5, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

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