The Athletics have announced a series of roster moves, including the demotion of top prospect Franklin Barreto to Triple-A. Catcher Ryan Lavarnway has also been designated for assignment. The two moves create roster space for Josh Phegley (back from the paternity list) and right-hander Chris Smith, who had his contract purchased from Triple-A so he could start today’s game against the Mariners.
[Updated A’s depth chart at Roster Resource]
With Marcus Semien back from the DL, Barreto will be sent back down to the farm to get everyday playing time. Ranked as Oakland’s top prospect and considered one of the better minor leaguers in all of baseball, the 21-year-old Barreto hit .190/261/.381 with two home runs over his first 46 career MLB plate appearances. Barreto is likely to get a more extended look later this season, either as a September callup or if Jed Lowrie is traded at the deadline.
Lavarnway signed a minor league contract with the A’s in the offseason and has appeared in one game this season, representing his first taste of big league action since 2015. Formerly a well-regarded prospect in Boston’s system, Lavarnway has been part of six different organizations since December 2014. He has a strong .280/.371/.459 career slash line over 3117 Triple-A plate appearances, so Lavarnway will continue to provide the A’s (or another team) with some solid minor league depth.
Smith, 36, will become the oldest pitcher in Athletics franchise history to make his first career MLB start. (Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle details the amusing story of how Smith got the news from his Triple-A manager.) It has been a long journey for the veteran, originally a Red Sox draft pick in 2002 who appeared in 50 games for Boston and Milwaukee in 2008-10 before bouncing around the minors and even stepping away from the game for a year. Smith signed a minors deal with Oakland in November 2015 and he made 13 appearances for the A’s last season.