Chad Smith came over to the Oakland Athletics from the Colorado Rockies in hopes that he could provide some right-handed depth out of the bullpen. He bounced back and forth between Triple A and had a pair of stints on the 40-man roster, but struggled and didn’t make much of an impact.
The A’s acquired Smith from the Rockies on December 6 in exchange for minor league pitcher Jeff Criswell.
What were the expectations?
Expectations were low coming in for Smith, who had struggled in 15 games for the Rockies out of the bullpen in 2022. At 28, Smith was still young enough and had options remaining.
Smith bounced back and forth between Triple A and the majors for the first part of the season. The Athletics designated him for assignment on July 4, but added him back to the 40-man roster on July 22. He ended up appearing in 10 games at the major league level where he allowed 10 runs in 13 2⁄3 innings. He had a 7.53 ERA in 34 2⁄3 innings at Las Vegas across 15 appearances. Oakland sent him back to the minors on July 25 and finished the season at Las Vegas.
What went right? What went wrong?
Smith was given an opportunity, but failed to take advantage of it. After 25 games in the majors, he has a 7.11 ERA and a 5.26 FIP in 31 2⁄3 innings. Rather astonishingly, Smith had a 52.4% hard hit rate allowed in just 42 batted balls. Allowing too many walks along with hard contact and a lack of strikeouts is a difficult combination to overcome.
The A’s outrighted Smith off the 40-man roster at the end of the season and he elected free agency. He will turn 29 in June, but has had little success at the major league level and struggled at Triple A last season. There is probably a chance that he can catch on as depth somewhere before spring training, but the ceiling appears to be low.