By Jason Wojciechowski on February 26, 2015 at 10:25 PM

The A's claimed Chad Smith off waivers from the Tigers today, taking the opportunity presented by Taylor Thompson needing to hit the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury. I don't have much to say about the transaction. You can check out the roster page and the fringe page to see where I think Smith fits in, in terms of his place on the depth chart and his likelihood of being cut.

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By Jason Wojciechowski on February 18, 2015 at 10:30 PM

Another week, another Minors Wrap. I should come up with some sort of clever name, but I probably won't.

In any event, as there is yet again no minor-league action to talk about, let's instead examine one Branch Kloess, who the A's signed to a minor-league contract on February 11th.

Google shows Branch Kloess is a lawyer who was charged with obstruction of justice for entering a guilty plea on behalf of someone who, it is alleged, he knew to be using a false name. The question for the appellate court is whether a particular provision of the law was an element of the obstruction of justice offense (and thus needed to be alleged and proven by the prosecution) or an affirmative defense (with the burden on the defendant to prove it if he is to make use of it). The Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which covers Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, ruled in what might be broadly characterized as the more government-friendly or defendant-unfriendly manner, holding that it was an affirmative defense. That was in 2001.

So after serving his jail time, presumably, Kloess started playing professional baseball at the age of 24 in 2009. He spent a little time in the Frontier League before signing with the White Sox. He played in Chicago's system through 2012, reaching Triple-A, before spending the last two years with San Diego, playing in Tucson and El Paso, both Triple-A squads, where he put up a combined 5.95 RA/9, which is on the one hand brutal and on the other hand a bit less brutal than it looks because of how horrific it is to pitch in Tucson and El Paso. (Did I tell you about how I saw Sacramento go back-to-back-to-back in Tucson? That was cool as hell. Jeremy Barfield hit one of those dongers.)

I have now told you everything there is on the Internet about Branch Kloess.

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By Jason Wojciechowski on February 11, 2015 at 10:12 PM

I made a goal to do more traditional bloggie things this season, which hopefully will include a weekly look at what's gone on in the minors. I'm starting this now to try to get in a groove, even though it's dumb to start now because it's February and there are no minors in February.

So here's what I'm going to go with: In mid-January, the A's signed Luke Carlin to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training. Herewith some facts about Luke Carlin:

  • He's a catcher
  • I have no idea if he's related to George
  • He's spent time in the systems of San Diego, Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh
  • He was drafted in the 10th round by Detroit in 2002 and was released the next March, which seems awfully quick for a catcher drafted in the 10th round
  • He's 34
  • He switch-hits
  • He went to Northeastern; I know a bunch of people who went to law school there
  • He was drafted four picks ahead of Howie Kendrick, whose career WAR is 50 times Carlin's
  • The A's 10th-round pick in 2002 was pitcher J.R. Pickens from Ole Miss, who pitched through 2005, never getting past High-A
  • He was born in Maryland but grew up in Quebec

There's your minor-league wrap (not a sandwich) for the week.

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