It’s a minor trade … a speck in the baseball world … but when the Orioles acquired Seth Smith for a diluted version of Yovani Gallardo it set off a small alarm. It’s an alarm that was perhaps set to go off anyway on January 7th, signaling that it’s time to wake up and trade an outfielder. But now that Smith, a .272/.355/.472 hitter against righties, has gone to one of the teams that was participating in the Jay Bruce musical chairs game that has been conjured up in all our minds, there’s one less chair now.
If Smith could only get back Gallardo, who’s ERA shot up two runs in Baltimore, then Bruce (who is a career .257/.329/.488 hitter against righties … for reference) doesn’t figure to get much back. And considering that the Mets gave up Dilson Herrera for him (which I’m sure seemed like a good idea at the time), it looks like the Mets are going to have to take the L on this one if they want to get something done with Bruce. Power, right now, is an undervalued commodity. And it’s the only category in which Bruce surpasses Smith. So at this very moment, the Mets are in a bit of trouble … whether they want to use Bruce’s money for other things, or just want to be rid of his salary. (And if you won’t listen to me, at least listen to the infinitely more qualified Ken Rosenthal.)
We’ve been wondering what the domino is that will set everything else in motion. It wasn’t Yoenis Cespedes. It wasn’t Edwin Encarnacion. Wouldn’t it be a barrel of laughs if it was Seth Smith, of all people, that cleared the blockages of general managers and their trade passages.