The Tigers announced today that they’ve claimed left-hander Josh Smoker off waivers from the Pirates and optioned him to Triple-A Toledo. In order to clear room for him, the club has designated right-hander Warwick Saupold for assignment.
Smoker, 29, endured seven rough outings with the Pirates this past year spanning 5 2/3 innings. The southpaw coughed up seven earned runs while walking five and notching just a pair of strikeouts. Smoker’s been great at whiffing batters in the past, but he’s always struggled to avoid the home run ball, as evidenced by his 19.5% career HR/FB mark. He’s also never managed a full season with an ERA below 4.70. A supplemental first round pick by the Nationals in 2007, he never reached his lofty pre-draft billing.
Saupold, 28, has had a significant presence in the Tigers’ bullpen across the past season and a half, if for no other reason than for lack of more reliable arms within the organization. The right-hander owns a career ERA of 4.98, which actually looks like good fortune when compared to his 5.25 FIP. Saupold’s never known any organization outside of the Tigers, but he’ll now be entering the waiver wire.