New Orioles outfielder Seth Smith and executive vice president Dan Duquette joined a teleconference with local media Friday to discuss the trade that brought the 34-year-old Smith to Baltimore for 30-year-old pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
Here are some quotes, with my thoughts after each.
Duquette: “The important thing that I want to emphasize today is that we added a good veteran hitter to our lineup to help us in a couple of areas: to help us in the field, to help us in getting on base and setting up the rest of the order, working the pitchers, and also driving in runs … We’re gonna continue to build the club. We’re looking to add depth. We may sign another outfielder and we may also look at some pitching depth.”
My thoughts: The ending of the quote is the key here. Smith helps them, but he’s still not an above average outfielder who can leadoff. And there are some players like that still on the market. Also, trading Gallardo may allow Duquette to buy a low-risk starter in February for rotation insurance if one hasn’t found a job. And, of course, this doesn’t mean that the Mark Trumbo ship has sailed, either.
Smith on being a leadoff hitter: “It seems like I do (leadoff) for a small stretch each season when the team’s kind of figuring out what direction they want to go. For me, it’s never really been an issue other than just be prepared to play, or be prepared to hit a little sooner than you would otherwise. But after the first at-bat it’s business as usual and you approach an at-bat the same way you would regardless of where you’re hitting.”
My thoughts: He’s an emergency option, and probably a better one than sticking Adam Jones or Manny Machado there. But he’s not a full-year solution to the leadoff void.
Duquette: “We dealt from an area of surplus – we had six starters – to fill an area of need and that was left-handed hitting, on-base capability and an outfielder. So, we liked the trade from that perspective. We reallocated some of our resources and I think, in the process, we strengthened our team.”
My thoughts: The question was about Duquette’s thoughts in not having to take from his stout bullpen to add a hitter. And that’s a huge key here. Duquette got a hitter without trading a reliever and saved some money. That’s got to be considered a win.
Smith on being a platoon player: “It’s something that I don’t try to control other than work hard to hit right-handers and I work hard to hit left-handers the best I can. And, for me as player, that’s kind of what it is. I try to have good at-bats. I try to be the best player I can be in whatever role I am asked.”
My thoughts: Buck Showalter is tremendous at putting players in spots where they can succeed. And that’s going to happen here. Smith is going to face right-handers almost exclusively, and that should be good for him and the team. Especially that he is willing to do whatever is needed.
Smith on going from Safeco Field to Camden Yards: “You kind of make of it what you want. No one complains about hitting at Camden Yards, I can assure you of that …. There are pros and cons of every ballpark, but, as for hitting at Camden Yards, you can’t help but be excited about it.”
My thoughts: No one needs to interpret that one. My guess is he was smiling when he said it.