The winter meetings don't start until Sunday night, but major league general managers aren't waiting to get with Mickey Mouse to make deals. Two relatively big trades happened within moments of each other Tuesday afternoon, including one that had the Oakland Athletics sending outfielder Seth Smith to the San Diego Padres for right-handed relief pitcher Luke Gregerson. It's also the second deal of the day and third in the past 36 hours or so for Oakland GM Billy Beane.
In another trade — not A's related — the Rockies sent outfielder Dexter Fowler to the Astros for pitcher Jordan Lyles and outfielder Brandon Barnes. The hot stove is smoking.
Just a day before, the A's added right-handed closer Jim Johnson from the Orioles, so Beane has been busy remaking the back of Oakland's bullpen. Gregerson, 29, has been one of the best relievers in the National League since breaking in with the Padres in 2009. He has a career 2.88 ERA in 363 career appearances, with 352 strikeouts and 107 walks. He also has 16 saves, including 13 combined the past two seasons when not setting up someone else in the Padres bullpen. Eligible for arbitration, he made $3.2 million this past season. He'll be a free agent after this season.
Smith has never put up gaudy numbers, but he's been an effective hitter for his career against left-handed pitching for the A's and Rockies, batting .279/.357/.487, though Coors Field probably helped that a little. He batted .253/.329/.391 with eight homers for the A's in 2013. Also arbitration eligible, he made nearly $3.7 million in 2013.
It's a great one-year trade for the A's, who still have outfield depth with Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick and Craig Gentry — who earlier Tuesday came over from the Rangers in a trade for outfield prospect Michael Choice. Their bullpen is deep too, including the likes of Sean Doolittle from the left side, along with former All-Star Ryan Cook. Grant Balfour, who closed in 2013, is looking for a multi-year contract on the free-agent market.
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