The Baltimore Orioles were in search of a new right fielder with Mark Trumbo likely playing elsewhere next season. With the uncertainty in right field, Baltimore traded one of their starting pitchers for Seth Smith, a right fielder who has played for four teams in the MLB, including the Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Seattle Mariners. Smith played his last two seasons in Seattle, where he was a consistent left-handed hitter that hits home runs and gets on base, which is exactly what the Orioles need following the departure of Mark Trumbo.
With the Smith addition, the Orioles projected starting lineup for 2017 has more balance with three left-handed hitters, Chris Davis, Hyun Soo Kim, and now Seth Smith. However, since the Orioles lost a starting pitcher, they will likely sign a free agent starting pitcher in the coming weeks. Yovani Gallardo struggled with the Orioles last season, so losing him is not detrimental to the team’s success.
Smith also has a good contract for Baltimore. The Orioles had been in contact with multiple free-agent outfielders, but they will likely save money by acquiring Smith. His contract is only for one year and $7 million, a minor investment compared to one the Orioles may have needed to make if they signed a current free agent. Though Smith may leave the team after next season, he is a great short-term acquisition.
As mentioned, the Orioles still need at least one more starting pitcher. Several remain in free agency, but the Orioles could also trade for a starter. Jered Weaver, Brett Anderson, C.J. Wilson, and many other viable options are still available in free agency. Also, former Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel is a free agent after pitching for the Chicago Cubs, the World Series Champions in 2016, so a reunion could be in the future.
The Orioles have some time to make roster changes, but pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training on February 13. That gives the Orioles about one month to strengthen their starting rotation, which would include Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley at this point. Jimenez and Miley are not bad pitchers, but the Orioles would need to improve their rotation if they want to contend in the American League East.
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