Billy Beane’s “Extreme Bullpen Makeover” continued on Tuesday as the Oakland Athletics acquired right-hander Luke Gregerson from the San Diego Padres in exchange for arbitration-eligible outfielder Seth Smith.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported the deal via Twitter:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2013
The 29-year-old Gregerson has been one of the premier setup men in the National League over the last five seasons, posting a 2.88 ERA and 1.092 WHIP with 352 strikeouts in 347 innings over 363 appearances. He has also saved 16 games, including a career-high nine in 2012.
Last season, Gregerson appeared in 73 games and worked 66.1 innings, going 6-8 with four saves and a 2.71 ERA. His WHIP was 1.010 and he struck out 64 batters.
Gregerson’s money pitch is a sharp-breaking slider that he threw 55.1 percent of the time last season, along with a fastball that he mostly features of the four-seam variety (18.6 percent) and a cutter (10 percent) and he also throws a straight change 8.4 percent of his pitches. He only used a two-seamer 4.9 percent of the time and, for the first time in his career, he added a curveball to his repertoire, using it about 2.2 percent of the time. (pitch type stats via FanGraphs.com)
He’s not overpowering—his fastball averaged a little better than 88 mph last season—but he gets a good separation between the fastball and the changeup (77 mph) while his slider comes in at almost 82 mph.
Beane also added closer Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, leaving Oakland with an imposing back end of the bullpen that includes incumbents Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook—an All-Star in 2012, don’t forget—and newcomers Gregerson and Johnson.
Gregerson was a 28th-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals out of St. Xavier University in Illinois in 2006. He was the player to be named later in a deal that sent Khalil Greene to the Cardinals from San Diego in December 2008. He wound up earning a spot in the Padre bullpen in spring training in 2009 and has been in the show since.
Smith was going to be a pricey player for the A’s to keep, particularly since Oakland also picked up outfielder Craig Gentry earlier today from the Texas Rangers. Smith is not a particularly strong defender, can only play the corners—as opposed to Gentry, whose natural position is center field—and his power slipped in 2013.
Smith hit .253/.329/.391 in 117 games and 410 plate appearances for the A’s last season, with 27 doubles, eight homers, 40 RBI and 49 runs to go with 94 strikeouts. His OPS slipped 33 points from 2012, when he slugged 14 homers in 441 plate appearances.
The 31-year-old is in his final arbitration-eligible year prior to entering free agency and after earning $3.675 million in 2013 was projected to get somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.25 million to $4.5 million for next season—an awfully big investment in a fifth outfielder/DH against righties.