The Oakland Athletics have tendered contracts to newly acquired infielders Abraham Toro and Miguel Andujar. They declined to offer a contract to infielder Kevin Smith. The moves were announced hours before Friday’s non-tender deadline. In addition, the A’s claimed reliever Michael Kelly off waivers from the Guardians and signed former Tigers outfielder Daz Cameron to a minor league contract.
Smith becomes a free agent, most likely to sign a minor league contract elsewhere. Acquired in the Matt Chapman trade, Smith had a limited impact on the A’s major league roster. In 96 games over the last two seasons, Smith bounced back and forth between shortstop and third base.
He was a fine defender at the hot corner but struggled at short and didn’t hit well in either year. In total, he hit .183 with 7 homers and posted a 31.5% strikeout rate. The decision to non-tender him isn’t surprising, especially with the recent additions of Toro and Andujar.
Andujar is a polarizing player. A highly touted prospect years ago in New York, Andujar never materialized as a good major leaguer. He had one respectable season back in 2018, then spent the following five years struggling through injuries and performance issues.
In those five years, he’s played in a total of just 144 games and been worth -1.7 fWAR. He hit well enough during the second half of 2023 [17 games] that the A’s found him worthy of a waiver claim and a contract for 2024.
Toro was acquired by the A’s from the Brewers last week, in exchange for minor leaguer Chad Patrick. Coming off a season in which he played just 9 games at the major league level, Toro was projected to earn $1 million in his second year of arbitration. The A’s will be Toro’s fourth team in the last four seasons.
According to DRS, Toro is a better defender at third than he is at second, which fits what the A’s need. With Zack Gelof holding down the second base job, the A’s need guys who can play on the left side of the infield.
Andujar likely isn’t a third baseman at this point. He’d be better suited to a corner outfield or DH role, given his defensive struggles. Toro on the other hand should be able to handle the hot corner along with Aledmys Diaz.
The A's currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster. The one open spot will likely be used to acquire a player in December's Rule 5 draft. The A's have the first pick, and seem certain to make a selection.