The Oakland Athletics have a 2-1 series lead over the Detroit Tigers thanks to their 6-3 victory today. Former Rockies outfielder Seth Smith played a key role in the action, mashing a two-run home run in the 5th inning.
For the regular season, Smith had his usual Seth Smith numbers: .253/.329/.391 with eight home runs and 40 RBI. Against right-handed pitchers, Smith was fairly productive, batting .258/.341/.408 with six of those home runs and 34 of those RBI. Against left-handed pitching, those numbers were .235/.287/.333 with two home runs and six RBI (in only 81 at-bats). So Smith still is the exact same guy the Rockies thought he was: a solid platoon player.
Things got touchy in Colorado when Smith thought he was an everyday guy and the organization disagreed. It turns out the organization was probably right, and while the two pitchers they got in exchange for Smith had pretty low upsides, it was still reasonable to argue that the Rockies were smart to take a chance on two pitchers in exchange for a platoon player.
What the preceding paragraph does not account for, however, is Smith’s knack for coming through in big moments. This year Smith batted .393 in September and he is 4-for-8 so far in the ALDS. Even though he is inconsistent and maddening at times, there is a reason that Rockies’ play-by-play man Drew Goodman dubbed him “Mr. Late Night.” You associate Smith with late heroics, and that’s what makes us miss him when we see his name in the headlines on a day like today.
It also makes the lack of return from that trade more glaring. Guillermo Moscoso was last seen as a mop-up guy for the
last place San Francisco Giants. Also, he was an utter disaster for the Rockies. Josh Outman had every chance this season to inspire confidence as a relief option in big spots. Instead his ineffectiveness (4.33 ERA in 61 appearances) serves as one of a number of examples of the need the Rockies have in that area of the roster.
And yes, the Rockies have a need for an outfield bat with pop right now. But Smith was never going to be that guy…not for the Rockies.
Smith found a great fit with the A’s. It’s just too bad that none of the guys the Rockies got in return found the same thing in Colorado.