FEB. 7: Smith’s deal comes with a $3MM base salary and $500K in performance bonuses, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.
FEB. 4: The Blue Jays have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Joe Smith on a one-year Major League deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The signing, should it become official, will require a 40-man roster move by Toronto. Smith is represented by Excel Sports Management.
Smith, 33 in March, posted a 3.46 ERA, 6.9 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.38 HR/9, and 50.3% groundball rate in 52 innings for the Angels and Cubs. In terms of peripheral stats, it was the veteran sidearmer’s worst campaign since 2010. The Blue Jays will look for Smith to recapture some of his excellence spanning 2011-14, when he was fourth among all relievers with a 2.25 ERA in 271 2/3 innings. Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro has a previous connection to Smith, having acquired him in December 2008 while serving as general manager of the Indians.
Early in the 2016 season, Smith became the top man in the Angels’ bullpen when Huston Street went down with an oblique injury. However, Smith hit the DL himself in June with a hamstring injury. Shortly after his return, he was dealt to the Cubs at the trade deadline. Smith’s time with the Cubs was particularly brief due to a recurrence of the hamstring injury, and he was left off the team’s playoff roster.
The Jays’ contract with Smith comes on the heels of a one-year pact signed with lefty J.P. Howell on Tuesday. Howell will fill the role of the departed Brett Cecil, who signed a four-year deal with the Cardinals. Holdovers in the Blue Jays’ bullpen include Roberto Osuna, Joe Biagini, and Jason Grilli.
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