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Rockies Trades Land Drew Stubbs and Franklin Morales

Red Sox NewsThe Colorado Rockies have made two trades. In one deal they acquired lefthanded pitcher Franklin Morales from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for infielder Jonathan Herrera. Ian Brown and Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported the trade.

Morales, who turns 28 in January, pitched for the Rockies from 2007 to 2011 before he was acquired by the Red Sox for cash considerations. He has solid stuff, but has struggled with his control throughout his professional career, walking 11.5 percent of hitters.

Before a shoulder injury prematurely ended his 2012 season, Morales had worked his way into the Red Sox starting rotation. In 76.1 innings, he had a 23.4 percent strikeout rate and an 89 ERA-. He bounced between AAA and the big league club in 2013, appearing in 20 games with one start. His fastball dropped almost two miles per hour down to 93, and he walked 13.4 percent of hitters.

The 29 year-old Herrera received 215 plate appearances in 2013, posting a .292/.336/.364 batting line with a 77 wRC+. In parts of five big league seasons, he has a .265/.325/.332 line with a 67 wRC+. He’s a utility infielder who will have his work cut out for him if he is to make the big league roster.

Rockies RumorsThe other trade involved the Rockies acquiring outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for pitcher Josh Outman.

Stubbs, 30, had a strong 2010 season, hitting 22 home runs and producing a .255/.329/.444 line with a 105 wRC+ and 3.6 fWAR for the Cincinnati Reds. In the last two years, his hitting and his outfield defense have declined. He’s managed just a .222/.290/.346 line with a 76 wRC+ and 1.9 fWAR. Meanwhile, he’s struck out in 30 percent of his plate appearances. He’s still one of the game’s best baserunners, and the Rockies are hoping he can regain his 2010-11 form.

The 30 year old Outman appeared in 61 games in relief for the Rockies in 2013. He produced a 4.33 ERA and 3.25 FIP, striking out 22.3 percent of hitters and walking 9.7 percent. Cleveland will likely utilize him as a lefty specialist.

For his career, he’s struck out 31.6 percent of lefthanded hitters while waking just 7.3 percent. Overall, lefties have hit just .186 against Outman. Against righties, his strikeout and walk rates decline to 12.6 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively, and they’ve hit .298 against him.

This is the second recent move by the Indians designed to shore up their bullpen, as they signed John Axford to a one-year deal Sunday.

Chris Moran is a second-year law student and assistant baseball coach at Washington University in St. Louis. He played baseball at Wheaton College where he donned the tools of ignorance. Contact him via our contact page or follow him on Twitter @hangingslurves