O's get OF Smith for Gallardo in swap with M's

January 6th, 2017

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles crossed off one of their major to-do list items on Friday morning, trading for left-handed-hitting outfielder Seth Smith from the Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitcher and cash considerations.

The move makes sense for Baltimore, as it would have entered Spring Training with six candidates for five rotation spots. Gallardo was one of three Orioles -- along with and -- in a contract year in 2017.

Smith helps balance out the O's lineup and adds sound defense, with the move also freeing up $4 million of salary for Baltimore to possibly make another move.

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"I think the important thing I want to emphasize today is we added a good veteran hitter to our lineup to help us in a couple of areas," said executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, who added that he is still looking to add another outfielder as well as pitching depth.

The Smith trade doesn't diminish the possibility of the O's re-signing free agent , who could be a full-time designated hitter option.

"Seth Smith brings veteran leadership, experience and an accomplished bat to the Orioles," Duquette said. "We look forward to him contributing to the 2017 club."

The 34-year-old Smith hit .249 (94-for-378) with 62 runs and 15 doubles in 137 games with Seattle last season. His 63 RBIs were a career high, and his 16 home runs were second most in his career.

"No one complains about hitting at Camden Yards, I can assure you of that," Smith said of his new home park. "There are pros and cons to every ballpark, but hitting in Camden Yards, you can't help but be excited by it."

Smith said he received many texts on Friday from former and current Orioles players, saying they were excited to have him and that he was going to love his new spot.

"Baltimore is one [organization] that I've never heard a bad thing about," Smith said. "People speak positively of it, and I'm excited to be a part of it."

In parts of 10 Major League seasons with Colorado (2007-11), Oakland ('12-13), San Diego ('14) and Seattle ('15-16), Smith is a career .261 hitter with 205 doubles, 113 home runs and 426 RBIs in 1,138 career games.

Gallardo, whom the O's signed to a two-year deal with an option last spring, went 6-8 with a 5.42 ERA, allowing 71 earned runs over 118 innings. He had 85 strikeouts and 61 walks in 23 starts.

Added to help eat innings, Gallardo got off to a rough start and struggled to go deep into games. He went on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder biceps tendinitis on April 23 and returned June 18. The righty does have a track record, however: He is one of nine pitchers to toss 180 or more innings in at least seven of the past eight seasons.

"We dealt from an area of surplus -- we had six starters -- to fill an area of need," Duquette said, "which is a left-handed hitter [with] on-base capability and an outfielder."

Smith led Seattle hitters with a .326 batting average (28-for-86) with runners in scoring position (ranked 12th among American League hitters), including a .545 clip (6-for-11) with the bases loaded.

Smith will help the Orioles improve their outfield defense. He ranked fifth among AL outfielders with a .994 fielding percentage last year and has posted a career .989 fielding percentage as an outfielder.

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

Although he produced 16 homers and drove in 63 runs in 2016, Smith is unlikely to help many season-long fantasy owners in a part-time role with the Orioles. But for those who participate in daily contests, Friday's trade takes on a greater significance. With a lifetime .827 OPS against right-handers compared to a .594 mark vs. lefties, Smith could be a cost-effective addition to daily fantasy squads whenever the O's face a mediocre righty starter -- especially in games at Baltimore's hitter-friendly home park.