The A’s announced this afternoon that they’ve outrighted catcher Matt McBride and right-hander Chris Smith off the 40-man roster. Both well-traveled minor leaguers have enough professional experience to elect free agency.
McBride, 31, appeared in 20 games with Oakland this season and totaled 44 plate appearances, during which he batted .209/.227/.279 with 10 punchouts against one walk. That marked the fourth season in which McBride spent some time at the Major League level — each of the other three came as a member of the Rockies — but the former second-round pick has been able to manage just a .201/.228/.299 slash in 202 big league plate appearances. He’s carved out an excellent career at the Triple-A level, however, where he’s batted .310/.350/.517 in parts of seven seasons. Given that production, McBride shouldn’t have trouble latching on elsewhere as a depth option.
Smith, 35, has also seen big league work in parts of four seasons. The 2002 fourth-rounder (Red Sox) totaled 24 2/3 innings with the A’s this year and turned in a very strong 2.92 ERA with 29 strikeouts and a 45.6 percent ground-ball rate, but he also walked 13 in that time (4.7 BB/9) and averaged just 87.6 mph on his fastball. Like McBride, Smith has a pretty lengthy track record of success in Triple-A, having logged a 3.68 ERA with 8.8 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in 509 innings across parts of nine seasons at that level.