4:36pm: Smith will earn $7MM in 2018 and $8MM in 2019, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.
6:20am: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the two-year deal actually guarantees Smith $15MM.
THURSDAY, 2:32am: Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that Smith will be paid $14MM over his two-year pact (Twitter link).
WEDNESDAY, 8:18pm: Smith passed a physical in Houston on Wednesday, Kaplan tweets, and the team has announced the agreement. Financial details aren’t yet available.
5:13pm: The Astros have agreed to a deal with free agent reliever Joe Smith, pending a physical, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com tweets. It’s a two-year pact, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Smith is a client of Excel Sports Management.
Houston will be the sixth team for the 33-year-old Smith, who has served as a more-than-capable reliever since making his major league debut in 2007. The sidearming, soft-tossing right-hander has racked up a combined 624 2/3 innings of 2.97 ERA pitching and posted a 55.7 percent groundball rate with the Mets, Indians, Angels, Cubs and Blue Jays.
While Smith’s success has come in spite of modest strikeout and walk rates (7.88 K/9, 3.17 BB/9), he found another gear in both departments last season. Across 54 innings divided between Toronto and Cleveland, Smith logged 11.83 K/9 against 1.67 BB/9 and recorded an 11.4 percent swinging-strike rate – a vast improvement over his lifetime mark of 8.4. He joins Bryan Shaw, now with the Rockies, as the second proven reliever to depart the Indians via free agency this winter.
While the World Series-contending Indians have seen their bullpen weaken since last season ended, Smith should step in with aplomb for Luke Gregerson, who left the reigning champion Astros for the Cardinals. Along with Smith, Houston has a host of other quality pieces in the fold in Ken Giles, Chris Devenski, Will Harris, Joe Musgrove and, if he doesn’t start, Brad Peacock, with Michael Feliz and James Hoyt also in the mix.
All of those hurlers are righties, which could lead the Astros to reel in a southpaw at some point this winter, though their relievers did limit lefty-swingers to a .231/.306/.395 line last season. Smith, meanwhile, has typically been effective against lefties, having held them to a .242/.336/.369 mark during his career.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
So many relievers going quick!!
solid pick up. one more reliever and a left handed bat!
I like it!
Welcome to the 2018 Reliever Meetings
Nice but still need a lefty!!! Come on Brad Hand
Pass. they want the moon.
Houston we have a problem
Gold, Jerry. gold.
Why don’t they call it roundtine?
I wanted him to go back to the jays
Same, but he clearly wants a chance to win so I can’t fault him one bit for going to Houston.
Good for them, He was nails last year
Man thank you Joe Smith and Bryan Shaw for the great work you 2 have given us in Cleveland
IndiansFan15…with so many boards filled with vitriol, that was classy…kudos.
So the Tribe gave up a future LH starter and an exciting 2B prospect and have squat to show for it? Great.
I don’t think Samad Taylor is anything special, but I was disappointed that they traded Pannone for him and I think he’s a solid bet to be a back-end starter.
Who was it that kept insisting he’d resign in Cleveland to be near his sick momma?
It was his sick momma. Just goes to show you parents just don’t know what their kids are thinking’ LOL
A good replacement for soft-tossin’ Gregerson
Good move. I like it. A better version of Gregerson. We still need a left handed reliever!!
Will the Astros trade Ken Giles? They seemed to lose faith in him during the post season.
Giles had a really great regular season – 34 saves, 2.30 ERA and was pretty dominant. I don’t know why he cratered during the post season – he seemed to be throwing as hard, but maybe he just ran into some bad luck or bad pitch selection or just choked. I think the Astros have far from given up on him – he’s only 27, throws the ball 100 mph, and is under team control for a few more years. As AJ Hinch noted, some of the stros didn’t fare as well in the 2015 playoffs, and did much better in 2017, so it could be similar for Giles as 2017 was his first playoff experience. I don’t expect the stros to trade him, in fact I think the stros will work with him to make him even better.
Slick balls caused sliders to be awful during the playoffs and WS. Giles’ fastball is fairly flat and ineffective without the slider.
You may be right on that. Giles fastball works off his slider. His slider is really his out pitch.
All he needs is a good 2seam. Just grip that baby boi seams with 2 Fangas
Hell, just put some pine tar on your fingers. You have to remember not to pick your nose with that pine tar on. Your buggers will stick to your fingers and you won’t be able to get them off. Ucky, rubber buggers!
man, i thought my reds would be trying to nab at least one decent reliever, but looks like it will be another barren year in the pen unless some serious trades go down x.x
Love this signing for the Astros! Now they just need a LH reliever, maybe another RH power arm. If I was them I’d trade a package of Tucker, Martes and Paulino for Yelich as well.
Woah… Derek Jeter is that you? The upside over Marsinick woukdnt be worth those three much less Marwin or Reddick. Its even worse if you account for the anticipated OF production from the younglings…
Pretty spot on trade but I could see them maybe adding in Devenski or Musgrove too.
Yelich-Springer-Reddick-Marisnick-Gonzalez OF is almost as huge as their vaunted INF. Astros still way deeper lineup than the Yankees.
*preston tucker. Not Kyle
No mention of Sipp in the article or a single comment…He was their big signing two years ago still making big money. Did he lose 10mph or something? I know he’s been horrible past two years but any reason he won’t bounce back?
Sipp strangely enough hasn’t lost any velocity…..he was sitting at 90 mph on his fastball a couple of years ago, and still sits there. Still throws fastball, slider, but seems to have really lost his change-up. If he rediscovers it, he could bounce back. But the Astros need an insurance policy left-hander in the bullpen, and they have very little else to fall back on. Reymin Guduan, who came up from AAA, throws 100 mph from the left side but has trouble with control. Kent Emanuel and Alex Winkelman were pretty effective as lefty starters in AA ball and could be relievers, but Emanuel got lit up when he moved to AAA. Cionel Perez, Cuban lefty will be in AA ball this year, so will Framber Valdez, and both have upside as #3 starters but could end up in relief. But no real proven lefty relief pitcher.
His wife is Allie La Force.
Oh, big deal you know who his wife is. If you’re so smart who is his mistress? Riddle me that one batman.
Astros are gonna choke this yr
They will choke your team.
but this year is 2017???
Del Boca Vista
Keep the analysis comin
December 13: Day 1 of the 2017 hot stove season. Finally so many moves!
I think someone is trying too hard and needs to lay off the thesaurus
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never in my life never seen the word “APLOMB.”
I have. You know, like, I’m hungry, think I’ll have aplomb.
Orbit, I think aplomb is French for assshole. LOL
Anyone know the Indians plans for their bullpen?
Yeah, Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and a couple flunkies will still be one of the best pens in baseball. They couldn’t pay the $17 mil or whatever it was per season to keep Shaw and Smith. Good luck to both, they cashed in and I don’t blame them one bit.
hrush28 – Yeah, I think it’s plan “B”.
I would rather have David Hernandez!!
Also he had a 2.21 ERA with Angels. The last time I looked they were in the same division. He pretty much shoved in that division!!
If they don’t trade Salazar I bet he ends up in the pen. Otherwise Allen, Goody, Otero and McCallister from the right side Miller and Olson from the left with a spot open for competition during spring training. Ryan Merrit is out of options and if he isn’t dealt should get a real shot at the 7th spot
Olson was lights out last year. If he can keep that up with a heavier load, Indians will still have one of the best bullpens in baseball.
I like Merritt in the pen. A great transition from the hard throwing starters.
A solid pickup for the Astros.
Nice move, especially since it takes him off a rival as well.