The Indians have acquired right-hander Joe Smith from the Blue Jays, The side-arming reliever, a free agent at season’s end, will return to Cleveland for his second stint with the Indians. Minor league lefty Thomas Pannone and shortstop Samad Taylor are going to the Jays to complete the deal. Righty Perci Garner has been designated for assignment by the Tribe to make roster space for Smith.
The 33-year-old Smith enjoyed five excellent seasons in Cleveland, pitching to a 2.76 ERA in 271 innings there from 2009-13. Since that time, he’s produced quality results in both Anaheim and in Toronto, although his 2017 campaign has been slowed by a roughly month-long stay on the disabled list due to inflammation in his right shoulder.
That said, Smith has been outstanding, when healthy, thus far in 2017. Through 35 2/3 innings, he’s averaged 12.9 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 with a 43.2 percent ground-ball rate. The resulting 3.28 ERA looks solid in its own right but is buoyed by even more impressive FIP (2.31), xFIP (2.46) and SIERA (2.42) marks — suggesting that there’s yet room for improvement down the stretch.
Smith is earning a modest $3MM in 2017, and he’s owed the balance of that figure — roughly $1.03MM — through the end of the year. In the interim, he’ll slot into a formidable Indians relief corps that is anchored by Andrew Miller and Cody Allen but also features a number of strong right-handed options, including Zach McAllister, Nick Goody, Dan Otero and Bryan Shaw.
MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal (on Twitter) reported the trade. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted the return after Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports (on Twitter) that it involved two lower-level minor leaguers.
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