Smith agreed Monday with the Rays on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. Tampa Bay dropped Smith from its 40-man roster earlier this offseason, but the backstop will still get the opportunity to compete for a job with the big club this spring. He'll be battling Mike Zunino and offseason pickups Francisco Mejia and Joe Odom for one of the Rays' two catching spots.
Smith cleared waivers and was released by the Rays on Friday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Smith served as the Rays third catcher this season and went 8-for-31 with one home run and three doubles in 17 games. There's apparently some interest in re-signing the 32-year-old, which makes sense with top catchers Mike Zunino and Michael Perez also no longer on the team.
Smith went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run and a walk in a loss to the Red Sox on Sunday. The veteran backstop gave fellow catcher Michael Perez a breather Sunday and made good use of the opportunity, slugging a 426-foot shot to left field with Willy Adames aboard in the fourth. Smith has now appeared in seven September games (five starts) while helping out behind the dish in the absence of Mike Zunino (oblique), but he could well head back to the alternate training site in Port Charlotte once the latter jumps back into action.
Smith, who was just recalled from the Rays' alternate training site on Saturday, went 1-for-3 with an RBI fielder's choice, a double and two walks in a win over the Marlins on Sunday. Smith made some noise out of the bottom of the order in his first taste of major-league action since Aug. 8. The veteran backstop is up from the alternate training site due to the oblique issue that landed Mike Zunino on the injured list, so he should see some solid playing time for the next 10 days at minimum while splitting catching duties with Michael Perez.
Smith has rejoined workouts at the Rays' alternate training site in Port Charlotte after being outrighted there Wednesday, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Manager Kevin Cash has previously stated it's a luxury to have a proven veteran backstop that can also hit like Smith on call, so the Rays were certainly glad the 32-year-old accepted his outright assignment and remains with the organization, particularly with Mike Zunino sporting an .095/.208/.262 line through his first 48 plate appearances.