Breaking down April trades

Rockies make second pitching move in two days
April 9: A day after trading for Bobby Seay, the Rockies acquired another pitcher Saturday. They picked up Jose Acevedo from the Reds for Allan Simpson in an exchange of right-handers who were promptly assigned to Triple-A clubs.

Acevedo, 27, has earned the tag of a Quadruple-A pitcher because he has done well in Triple-A but consistently been shelled in the majors. He spent all of 2004 with Cincinnati, going 5-12, 5.94 in 39 games (27 starts). He had a 117-45 strikeout-walk ratio in 158 innings, while opponents tattooed him for a .292 average and 30 homers. He throws strikes but pays for lacking an out pitch in his repertoire, which includes a fastball, cutter and changeup. Acevedo has a career 16-21, 5.59 in 68 big league games.

Simpson, 27, signed with the Mariners as an eighth-round pick out of Taft (Calif.) JC in 1997. Traded to the Rockies for righty Chris Buglovsky in December 2003, Simpson made his big league debut last year, going 2-1, 5.08 in 32 appearances. He had a 46-20 strikeout-walk ratio in 39 innings, and opponents hit .289 with four homers against him. Simpson usually works in the mid-90s from a low three-quarters arm slot, but he needs to improve his slider and control to make an impact in the majors.

-- Jim Callis

Teams swap first-round disappointments
April 8: In a final acknowledgement that their $3 million investment in Bobby Seay didn't work out, the Devil Rays designated him for assignment on April 2 and traded him Friday. Tampa Bay sent him to the Rockies for outfielder Reggie Taylor, another failed first-round pick.

A 26-year-old left-hander, Seay went 12th overall to the White Sox in the 1996 draft. Chicago didn't tender him an official contract within 15 days of the draft, as mandated by baseball rules. Major League Baseball declared him free to sign with any club after he filed a grievance, making him the first of the four loophole free agents from the 1996 draft. (Travis Lee, John Patterson and Matt White were the others.) The Devil Rays got more out of the $3 million they gave Seay than the $10.2 million they paid White, but it still wasn't much: a 1-1, 3.63 record over 45 games and 45 innings in the majors. Seay split last year between Triple-A Durham (2-1, 1.72 in 29 games) and Tampa Bay (0-0, 2.38 in 21 appearances). Seay has two plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, but his inconsistent control and command have undermined him. He stalled as a minor league starter before becoming a full-time reliever in late 2001, though he still has fallen short of expectations. Seay joins Brian Fuentes and Javier Lopez as lefties in the Colorado bullpen.

Taylor, 28, was the 14th overall pick in the 1995 draft by the Phillies. He's the classic gifted athlete who lacks baseball skills. Taylor has power and speed and plays a fine center field, but poor plate discipline has prevented him from ever producing consistently at the plate. Before signing with the Rockies as a minor league free agent last December, he split 2004 between two Triple-A clubs, Louisville (a Reds affiliate) and Charlotte (White Sox), hitting .274/.330/.486 with 20 homers, 54 RBI and 21 steals in 119 games. He spent all of 2002 and 2003 in the majors with Cincinnati, and has career totals of .233/.275/.386 with 14 homers, 57 RBI and 19 steals in 249 big league games. Tampa Bay assigned Taylor to Triple-A Durham.

-- Jim Callis

Colyer, Ginter change addresses again
April 2: Steve Colyer and Matt Ginter both have tantalizing arms, but neither has been able to harness his potential. They'll try again with new clubs after being traded for each other Saturday, when the Mets got Colyer from the Tigers straight up for Ginter.

Both pitchers were traded at the end of spring training last year as well. The White Sox sent Ginter to New York for Timo Perez on March 27, while the Dodgers shipped Colyer to Detroit for outfield prospect Cody Ross four days later.

Colyer, 26, throws harder than most lefthanders. He works at 93-98 mph and also generates plenty of movement on his fastball. However, he never has thrown his heater or slider for strikes on a consistent basis. In 41 games for the Tigers in 2005, he went 1-0, 6.47 with a 31-24 strikeout-walk ratio in 32 innings. Opponents batted .270 with eight homers against him. Colyer, whom the Mets assigned to Triple-A Norfolk, has a career big league record of 1-0, 5.05 in 54 games.

Ginter, a 27-year-old righty, projected as the White Sox' closer of the future after they made him a first-round pick out of Mississippi State in 1999. But he hasn't been able to translate his Triple-A success to the majors, and that didn't change when the Mets made him a full-time starter in 2004. He went 1-3, 4.54 in 15 games (14 starts) for New York. He had a 38-20 K-BB ratio in 69 innings, while opponents touched him for a .289 average and eight homers. For someone with a low-90s fastball and a hard slider, Ginter should miss more big league bats. He'll open the season as a long reliever in Detroit. Ginter has a career 4-3, 5.32 mark in 78 games (14 starts) in the majors.

-- Jim Callis