The Colorado Rockies made a few questionable decisions this winter, loading up the bullpen of a rebuilding team with expensive toys when the rest of the roster is in dire need of upgrade.
Shipping out one of those relievers – lefty specialist Josh Outman, made superfluous by the Boone Logan acquisition – in exchange for a highly useful outfielder like Drew Stubbs is not a questionable decision. It is a fine decision. A good decision, even.
Nobody will confuse Drew Stubbs with an everyday player but the things Stubbs does well are things the Rockies need people to do. Miscast as a right fielder during his only season in Cleveland, Stubbs can return to his rightful home in center field, which moves great but often-injured Rockies star Carlos Gonzalez back to left.
As mentioned by Dave Cameron, Stubbs really struggles against good curveballs. Luckily for Stubbs, curveballs do not fair so well in the thin air of Denver, where the lack of friction prevents curves from spinning and “biting” as is their intended purpose.
Don't get Rockies off-season, but Drew Stubbs is a nifty little get. Coors could help him more than most, due to curve ball issues.
— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) December 18, 2013
The vast outfield constructed to combat Coors Field’s altitude’s plays nicely into Stubbs’ profile as a speed-burning fly catcher (though his reputation might outstrip his reality, if advanced fielding metrics are to be believed.) Even if Stubbs is mostly depth and insurance in case of the (inevitable) Carlos Gonzalez injury, using an extra bullpen arm to buy just such a policy is a nice piece of business for a Rockies team still sorting out its identity.
Braves Enlist Services of Ryan Doumit, Such As They Are
At the age of 33, Ryan Doumit is no catcher. Sure, he owns his own shin guards and chest protector but let’s be honest – his time behind the plate should be all but over. In the past. Over.
It isn’t just because Doumit is bad back there – and believe me, he is. Almost any defensive metric evaluating catcher defense makes his shortcomings blocking balls, throwing out runners, and framing pitches abundantly clear.
Doumit missed time last year with a concussion, hitting the seven-day concussion DL in August. Though he returned quickly, he did not catch a single game for the rest of the season.
Whether the Braves want to risk future injury by installing him behind the plate again remains to be seen, but like Doumit’s only real value now comes from his bat, which barely delivers league-average offense for a not-insignificant dollar figure.
The Braves went through endured extended time with Evan Gattis in the outfield last season, looking for ways to keep the big rookie’s bat in the lineup while dealing with the offensive black holes that were Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton.
the Braves, not content with having the poor man’s Ryan Doumit, have now traded for the actual Ryan Doumit
— ihateprospects (@ihateprospects) December 18, 2013
Atlanta lived to tell the tale of El Oso Blanco in the outfield, winning 96 games last year. If Ryan Doumit of 2011/2012 turns up, the Braves have some decisions to make.
But if he continues looking like a guy in his 30s whose bat only plays behind the plate…well this might be day Frank Wren looks back on with no small twinge of regret.