The Blue Jays announced that they’ve designated right-hander Murphy Smith for assignment; that’ll make room for left-handed reliever Jose Fernandez, whose contract has been selected for the first time.
Smith, 31, made his major-league debut this season after spending parts of ten seasons in the minors. The Athletics drafted him in the 13th round all the way back in 2009, and he’s been with the Blue Jays organization since 2015. During that time, he’s slowly pushed his way up the minor-league ladder, culminating in a 3 1/3 inning audition with Toronto at the MLB level. That didn’t go well, as he allowed three runs on five hits while failing to strike out any opposing hitters.
Smith certainly isn’t any sort of strikeout artist, as he’s averaged less than six K’s per nine innings at Triple-A across the past two seasons. Rather, he typically relies on an uncanny ability to limit the home run ball. Though he’s averaged about a homer per nine innings at Triple-A, his track record at lower levels of the minors is elite in that department; with Toronto’s Double-A affiliate, he averaged less than half a home run per nine innings pitched from 2016-2017. That skill also showed brightly at every level of the minors with the Athletics.