MESA, Ariz. — It’s been nearly 30 years, but the A’s and Giants finally made a deal on Saturday.
It was bound to happen sooner or later, considering Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was a longtime top assistant in Oakland’s front office, where he remains popular, but the teams started small: The A’s acquired right-hander Burch Smith in exchange for cash considerations.
A’s general manager David Forst said he quickly learned how long it had been since the Bay Area’s teams had swapped personnel when his Twitter feed filled up.
“If we’d known it was going to be such a big deal, we’d have figured out a trade a year ago,” he joked. “Obviously, we’re excited to add Burch, and it certainly makes it easier to make a deal when the guy on the other end is someone you know as well as I know Far.”
Smith, 29, had a 2.08 ERA in limited appearances with the Giants last year; he pitched in 10 games and worked 8 ⅔ innings. In parts of three big-league seasons, he is 2-10 with a 6.57 ERA in 65 appearances, including 13 starts. The Giants designated him for assignment Feb. 10.
A’s manager Bob Melvin said that pitching coach Scott Emerson described Smith as a high spin-rate guy with good velocity at the top of the strike zone.
“I think any time you feel like you can make an upgrade, even incremental, you do it,” Melvin said.
The last deal between the A’s and Giants before Saturday was the one that sent outfielder Darren Lewis to San Francisco for infielder Ernie Riles on Dec. 4, 1990.
To make room for Smith on the 40-man roster, Oakland placed injured right-hander Daniel Mengden, who had an elbow cleanup procedure Monday, on the 60-day injured list.
Dec. 4, 1990: In the previous player swap between the Giants and A’s, Oakland sent Darren Lewis to the Giants in exchange for Ernie Riles.
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