The Oakland A’s are suddenly adding to their major league roster. This time, that addition has involved trading a viable prospect.
The A’s have acquired reliever Chad Smith from the Colorado Rockies. In exchange, they are sending prospect Jeff Criswell to Colorado.
Oakland A’s gift Jeff Criswell to Colorado Rockies
While the A’s need major league talent, this deal does not make much sense. The A’s bullpen was a strength last season, and even if they continue with the plan to push A.J. Puk into the rotation, there are plenty of pieces in place.
Smith struggled in his brief time in the majors last season. While his overall numbers can be taken with a grain of salt due to being in Colorado, they do not inspire much confidence either. He posted a 7.50 ERA and a 1.722 WHiP in his 18 innings, striking out 23 batters with 15 walks. The A’s have to hope that a change of scenery can get him back to the type of production he showed at Triple-A, where he has a 3.03 ERA and a 1.156 WHiP over 68.1 innings, striking out 77 batters with 30 walks.
Criswell is a significant price to pay for a 28 year old reliever with just 15 major league appearances. While he battled injuries in 2021, he was healthy once more last year. Criswell moved rapidly through the A’s system, moving from High-A to Triple-A within the season. He posted a 4.03 ERA and a 1.293 WHiP in his 118.1 innings across three levels, striking out 119 batters with 45 walks. Those efforts led to Criswell being named the A’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2022 as he appeared to be on his way towards making his major league debut in 2023.
At this point, Paul Blackburn and Cole Irvin are the only guaranteed options in the A’s rotation. James Kaprielian and Ken Waldichuk are likely to open the season in the rotation as well. However, that fifth spot is wide open and Criswell was a likely candidate to compete for that opening. Now he will be waiting for his chance in Colorado.
The Oakland A’s made a baffling trade on Tuesday. Pitching prospect Jeff Criswell is heading to the Colorado Rockies for reliever Chad Smith.