The A’s have acquired righty Chad Smith from the Rockies, the team announced. Pitching prospect Jeff Criswell heads to Colorado in return. The A’s 40-man roster count is up to 38, while Colorado’s tally drops to 38.
Smith made his big league debut this past season. He was called upon 15 times in relief by Colorado skipper Bud Black, tossing 18 innings. Smith allowed 15 runs in that limited work. He had a slightly above-average 27.1% strikeout rate and a solid 11.6% swinging strike percentage, averaging 95.6 MPH on his sinker. Yet throwing strikes proved problematic, as he walked an untenable 17.6% of batters faced.
Originally a Marlins draftee, Smith has played parts of six seasons in the minors since coming out of Ole Miss in 2016. He’d spent the past two years at the upper levels of the Colorado organization, posting strong numbers for Triple-A Albuquerque in 2022. Smith worked to a 3.09 ERA in 35 innings for the Isotopes — a strong achievement in one of the more hitter-friendly environments in pro ball. He fanned over 29% of opponents while inducing ground-balls at a massive 60% clip in that time. Smith’s 8.1% walk rate there was solid, but he’s battled control problems in the minors earlier in his career.
The 27-year-old has less than one year of major league service time, and he still has two minor league options remaining. He’ll give the A’s an affordable depth option who could factor into the middle innings and/or pitch for Triple-A Las Vegas if he holds his spot on the 40-man roster.
In return, the Rockies add a 23-year-old arm to the farm system. Criswell was Oakland’s second-round draft choice in 2020 after three seasons at the University of Michigan. The right-hander briefly made it to Triple-A this past season, although he spent more of the year at High-A and in Double-A. Over three levels, he worked 118 1/3 innings of 4.03 ERA ball, striking out batters at a 23.8% clip against a 9% walk rate. The 6’4″ hurler was ranked the #16 prospect in a relatively shallow Oakland farm system by Baseball America midseason; he’ll be eligible for the Rule 5 draft at the end of next season if not added to the 40-man roster before then.