Rather than defalcating millions of dollars into a free agent outfielder, the Rockies have taken to Oakland’s surplus for a second time this off-season, and have yanked away the redheaded stepchild of the bunch, Matt Murton. It appears that Brad Hawpe will be the lone player with a guaranteed starting job as the Rockies will have Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez, and Ryan Spilborghs competing for the center field job, and if the Rockies have the desire, a platoon of Murton and Seth Smith in left field is sensible. Murton himself is a slightly above average fielder who can hit well enough to be an above average asset in either corner.
In exchange for Murton, the Athletics free a 40-man roster spot, an outfield from an overflowing unit, and Wimberly. The 25-year old is going to remind some of former Rockies Chone Figgins and Juan Pierre. Throughout his minor league career he’s played the majority of his time at second base, but has also made cameos at shortstop, third base, center field, and left field, and a few games as a designated hitter. Wimberly has displayed a knack for the stolen base and an ability to avoid the strikeout.
Murton is more likely to make an immediate impact, but Wimberly should open in Triple-A and make his debut in the latter stages of 2009 in a role similar to how the Rays used Fernando Perez.
Wright is best known for being wrong in four consecutive at-bats versus the Boston Red Sox, with each resulting in a homerun. Wright’s minor league numbers aren’t spectacular, but they aren’t exactly poor either. He’s a groundball inducer who works off a fastball and change-up combination with a slider thrown in. The Brewers already have R.J. Swindle and Mitch Stetter sitting around in the bullpen, so it seems unlikely Wright breaks camp with the big league team, but for a back of the pen type, Wright can be decent.
Fryer is a minor league catcher who really isn’t. In 2007 33 of Fryer’s 42 games involved catching, in 2008 that number was 39 of 105. Fryer hits well though, so the Yankees are getting a guy who likely won’t stick at catcher (five passed balls and 11 of 58 CS in 2008) but might have the bat to make it as a corner outfielder somewhere down the line. Frankly, Fryer seems like a bit much to give up for Wright, but I’ll give the Brewers and their exposure to Fryer the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.
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