As Carlos Gonzalez prepares to take his physical today before officially signing a 7-year $80million extension with Colorado, Greg Smith hides in obscurity, with nary a notable headline to his name in eight months. Smith, of course, will forever be tied to Gonzalez, as both came to Colorado (along with closer Huston Street) in return for Matt Holliday just over two years ago.
It might be surprising to realize that, while all three trade chips played in the big leagues for Oakland in 2008, it wasn't Carlos Gonzalez (1.0fWAR/1.2bWAR) that was most valuable. Nor was it Huston Street (1.1/1.1). It was Gregory Thomas Smith (1.5/2.0), who had put up a 4.16 ERA over 190.1 IP. Flash forward to 2009, where Rockies fans were optimistic for Smith as a fifth starter. But a long sickness and injury kept him on the disabled list, pushing his potential debut with Colorado to 2010.
Smith got his shot out of the gate when Jeff Francis was placed on the disabled list late in spring training. That slotted Smith second in the rotation for eight starts before Francis returned in mid-May. Despite an irrational love from Muzia, the southpaw left no Rockie fan satisfied. He walked 24 in just 39 innings and had significant trouble with the longball, which the naysayers forecasted with the flyballer moved from Oakland to Colorado.
It was a short cameo, but such is the life of an injury replacement. The 2010 season damaged Smith's future with the Rockies more than anything, and he might be forever remembered for this game. Well, and being Jason Giambi's personal pinch runner.
The Louisianan's season pushed him further down the depth chart, and barring a clubhouse epidemic of jock itch, he won't see Jim Tracy, much less Coors Field, when the season's first series comes around. Felipe Paulino and Esmil Rogers have leapt ahead of Smith as the sixth and seventh starters, while Smith will bide his time in Colorado Springs on a minor league contract.