Outman's career was interrupted by an elbow surgery that required surgery in June 2009 and cost him the rest of that year and all of 2010. Outman is a fly-ball pitcher, but he has a chance for success.Although Coors has long been good to hitters, it is a big park, and the number of cheap home runs hit there has been limited in recent years because the Rockies are storing baseballs in a chamber that prevents them for hardening and shrinking in the Rocky Mountain climate. Plus, the Rockies have speedy outfielders -- specifically Carlos Gonzalez in left and Dexter Fowler in center. "I obviously spent some time with the A's and thought it was going to be kind of a breakout year for me, now that I've gotten fully over the surgery and everything, and an opportunity to get back into the rotation," Outman said. "But I think I'm going to get a really good opportunity with Colorado. Just another place where I know they want me." With veteran Jorge De La Rosa beginning the year on the disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, the Rockies can choose from a large group of young candidates. Right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will be given a chance to become the staff ace. Also battling for jobs in the rotation this spring will be starters Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Tyler Chatwood, Kevin Slowey, Juan Nicasio, Jason Hammel and Esmil Rogers. The Rockies selected Smith, 29, out of Ole Miss in the second round of the First-Year Player Draft in 2004. He debuted in mid-September of 2007 and went 5-for-8 as a pinch-hitter during the Rockies' dramatic run to the playoffs. He then went 3-for-6 with a double and two RBIs during that postseason, during which the Rockies swept the Phillies in the National League Division Series and the D-backs in the NL Championship Series before being swept by the Red Sox in the World Series. In 2011, Smith, who plays both corner outfield positions, hit .284 with 15 home runs, 32 doubles, nine triples and 59 RBIs. In his career, Smith has hit.275 with 51 home runs, 78 doubles, 19 triples and 181 RBIs in 487 Major League games. "He's a great kid who did a lot for our franchise, especially those years when he came up and delivered some big hits off the bench for us," O'Dowd said. "It was very difficult to trade him, just like it was difficult to trade Chris Iannetta and Ian Stewart. But with the moves we made we felt like his opportunities were going to be somewhat limited, so we feel this is best for him as well. With Charlie Blackmon, Tyler Colvin and Eric Young Jr., we feel this gives one or two of them an opportunity to play."
Smith patiently sat through the trade speculation until the deal finally occurred.
"I was able to talk to [Athletics general manager] Billy Beane earlier today, and he had some good things to say and some exciting things," Smith said. "We're definitely looking forward to the opportunity. I'd like to say that our time in Denver was fantastic. My wife and family, we love Denver, and it'll always have a special place for us, and I have nothing but great things to say about the city, the fans and the organization. We're definitely going to miss it."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Alden Gonzalez contributed reporting. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less