The Oakland Athletics claimed right-handed relief pitcher Chad Smith off waivers from the Detroit Tigers, tweets Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Smith, 25, was designated for assignment after the Tigers re-signed reliever Joba Chamberlain, Fenech tweeted on Tuesday.
To clear space for Smith on the 40-man roster, the A's placed right-handed relief pitcher Taylor Thompson on the 60-day disabled list with a "shoulder strain," MLB.com's Jane Lee tweets. The San Francisco Chronicle's Susan Slusser tweeted earlier that Taylor Thompson's right shoulder tightness could have been the tipping point for making the claim.
Smith in Detroit
Chad Smith made his major league debut on June 22 for the Tigers, and made 10 appearances in June and July. Rob Rogacki's season review at Bless You Boys of Smith's performance notes, "He got a fair number of whiffs with his mid-90s fastball at the MLB level, but his slider will need to be more effective in the future."
Here's what that slider looks like against Nick Swisher:
The Tigers drafted Smith in the 11th round of the 2011 draft, progressing at a level a year until 2014, when he earned successive promotions from Double-A and Triple-A, before successive demotions back down those levels.
I'd make the Red Hot Chili Pepper's joke, but the Baseball Prospectus Annual has beaten me to it, "Chad Smith released an eclectic album titled 'The Process' in November. This is more interesting than anything about the nondescript relief pitcher who earned an MLB call-up but started and ended the season in Double-A."
What to expect of Smith in Oakland
Smith is the 40th man on a roster filled with outstanding bullpen candidates. However, he does have two option years left, which is more than we can say for Evan Scribner. The Tigers train in Florida, so it may be a day or two before the A's see him in Mesa. Expect him to start the year in Triple-A, and he probably will not be the first one called up if there is an injury in the big league bullpen.
40-man roster map
The A's have not made a 40-man roster move since January 14, when they acquired Tyler Clippard from the Washington Nationals for Yunel Escobar. The 43 days is the longest 40-man roster stability of the entire offseason. (click to enlarge)