By Ashley Dunkak
LAKELAND, FLA. – The Detroit Tigers designated reliever Chad Smith for assignment Tuesday to make room on the roster for veteran Joba Chamberlain, and Thursday the Oakland A’s claimed Smith off waivers.
General manager Dave Dombrowski told reporters about the transaction after he, assistant general manager Al Avila, pitching coach Jeff Jones and manager Brad Ausmus brought Smith in Ausmus’ office to give Smith the news.
“Just told him, wished him well, really wished he would have made it through, but you’ve got to take somebody off your roster at the time,” Dombrowski said.
Smith spoke with reporters before he got the news and recounted the explanation he received for team designating him for assignment when they signed Chamberlain.
“They said they had to make a move, so they signed Joba, and they weren’t expecting that a month ago, but it came about where he was available and wanted to come back, and they needed him,” Smith said. “They said they wanted me back if no one picks me up, so I’d be reassigned to Toledo.”
Smith had hoped the major league experience he did get with Detroit – he threw in 10 games in 2014 – would entice another team to claim him.
“I have some time, and that always helps in terms of other teams looking at me,” Smith said. “They have a frame of reference of, ‘Hey, this guy’s been in the big leagues.’ It may have only been a month, may have only been 11 and two-thirds, but I’ve been up there and I kind of know how it goes.”
A rough first outing in the majors ballooned Smith’s ERA early, but in his nine appearances afterward, his ERA was 3.38. Including his ugly debut, Smith’s ERA in 2014 was 5.40.