Kevin Smith, Kirby Snead, Zach Logue, Dany Jiménez and Zach Jackson all envisioned a scenario in which they would be playing together in the big leagues. They just might not have correctly predicted what team they’d be playing for.
Those five players likely saw their path to the Majors ending up in Toronto, and understandably so, given that they were either drafted or signed as international free agents by the Blue Jays.
All five are now contributing at the Major League level as rookies. They’re on the same team. But that team is the A’s.
Oakland acquired Smith, Snead and Logue as part of the four-prospect haul received in exchange for Matt Chapman this spring. They join Jiménez and Jackson, both of whom were selected by the A’s as Rule 5 Draft picks.
“I played with them for so long in the Minor Leagues,” Smith said. “Obviously, you never really know what team it’s going to be with. But to all be together is pretty cool. It’s definitely fun to be with guys who you’ve known for a while. We talk about it from time to time.”
Here’s a look at the solid work each former Blue Jays farmhand is providing for the A’s:
It’s not easy trying to fill the position previously held down by Chapman, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and two-time Platinum Glove winner. So far, though, Smith is building his own case for some hardware consideration at the hot corner.
Among American League third basemen with at least 140 innings logged, Smith and Chapman enter Thursday as the only two yet to commit an error this season. Smith’s five defensive runs saved at third are also the most in the AL, topping Chapman and other supreme defenders such as Anthony Rendon and Alex Bregman.
RHP Dany Jiménez (0.00 ERA with five saves)
Key stat: No earned runs allowed
Though he entered 2022 with only two games of prior Major League experience, Jiménez has shown no issues handling closer duties for the A’s, entering Thursday a perfect 5-for-5 in save opportunities. His first 12 innings pitched are the most among AL relievers with no earned runs to begin the season, and his five saves are tied for the most among AL rookies.
RHP Zach Jackson (0-1, 3.77 ERA, one save)
Key stat: Holding opponents to a .174 batting average
Jackson has solidified himself as one of manager Mark Kotsay’s go-to arms in high-leverage spots, often pitching more than one inning to help set the bridge to Jiménez late in games. He enters Thursday having posted scoreless outings in nine of his last 11 appearances and has been particularly good on the road, with a 2.25 ERA over eight innings pitched in road games.
LHP Kirby Snead (6.00 ERA, 11 games pitched)
Key stat: Scoreless outings in eight of 11 relief appearances
A pair of rough outings over Snead’s last three appearances have caused his ERA to balloon. However, he remains a trusted option for Kotsay in left-on-left matchups and has only allowed one of his four inherited runners to score.
LHP Zach Logue (2-1, 1.35 ERA)
Key stat: Two runs allowed through first 13 1/3 innings pitched
Logue was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to fill an injured Cole Irvin’s spot in the A’s rotation and pitched well in his first Major League start, limiting the Twins to two runs across 5 1/3 innings. He then tossed seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Tigers. Having also pitched out of the bullpen for Oakland earlier this season, Logue gives the club some versatility, giving him a chance to stick around even when Irvin makes his way back from the injured list.