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Mets net lefty Zamora, swap Smoker to Bucs

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- A jammed 40-man roster cost the Mets another player on Wednesday, when they traded left-handed reliever Josh Smoker to the Pirates for fellow lefty reliever Daniel Zamora. Had they not completed a deal, the Mets would have risked parting ways with Smoker for no return.

Originally acquired as a free agent from independent ball in 2015, Smoker made the Mets' 40-man roster later that year, debuting as a 27-year-old rookie the following season. The hard-throwing left-hander appeared in 54 games for the Mets in 2017, striking out 68 batters in 56 1/3 innings with a 5.11 ERA.

NEW YORK -- A jammed 40-man roster cost the Mets another player on Wednesday, when they traded left-handed reliever Josh Smoker to the Pirates for fellow lefty reliever Daniel Zamora. Had they not completed a deal, the Mets would have risked parting ways with Smoker for no return.

Originally acquired as a free agent from independent ball in 2015, Smoker made the Mets' 40-man roster later that year, debuting as a 27-year-old rookie the following season. The hard-throwing left-hander appeared in 54 games for the Mets in 2017, striking out 68 batters in 56 1/3 innings with a 5.11 ERA.

But with their 40-man roster full, the Mets designated Smoker for assignment last week to clear space for the signing of infielder Jose Reyes. Making similar transactions earlier this month with right-handed relievers Kevin McGowan and Chasen Bradford, the Mets chose to put pitchers at risk instead of infield depth pieces like Matt Reynolds. McGowan ultimately cleared waivers but the Mariners -- among several other teams -- claimed Bradford.

The Mets may still put another player at risk if they acquire a starting infielder before Spring Training.

Tweet from @Josh_Smoker: To the fans.... pic.twitter.com/GGe8k94JAo

"The Mets family is truly a class act and I am grateful for that," Smoker wrote on Twitter before learning of his new assignment. "I have no ill feelings toward the Mets organization. They did what they thought was best for the team and I can respect that 100 percent. Even though the results weren't the best, I gave everything I had every time I stepped on the field."

Had Smoker successfully passed through waivers, the Mets would have been able to outright him to the Minors. Because he did not, they were forced either to let him go for no return or work out a trade.

Doing so landed the Mets another left-handed reliever in Zamora, 24, who posted a 1.86 ERA with 61 strikeouts in 37 games for Class A Advanced Bradenton. A former 40th-round Draft pick from Stony Brook University on Long Island, Zamora owns a 2.49 ERA over three professional seasons, with 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.

New York Mets, Josh Smoker