The Pirates have acquired southpaw Josh Smoker from the Mets in exchange for left-hander Daniel Zamora and cash, the two teams announced. Smoker was designated for assignment by the Mets earlier this week to clear roster space for the re-signed Jose Reyes.
The hard-throwing Smoker has a 5.02 ERA, 11.7 K/9, and 2.58 K/BB rate over 71 2/3 relief innings in the big leagues, all with New York in 2016-17. Despite that big strikeout total, Smoker had issues keeping the ball in the park, with 14 homers allowed in his brief career. He also posted a 5.1 BB/9 rate last season and struggled with control at times over his nine minor league seasons. Smoker isn’t exactly a young hurler (he turned 29 in November) but he still clearly has some upside in his arm given his big strikeout potential.
He’ll have an opportunity to continue in the big leagues given the lack of left-handed options in the Pirates’ bullpen. Closer Felipe Rivero, starter Steven Brault, and Jack Leathersich are the only other southpaws on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, though Brault could end up in the pen if he doesn’t make the starting rotation.
Zamora was a 40th-round pick for the Pirates in the 2015 draft. He has posted impressive numbers (2.96 ERA, 10.3 K/9, and 3.50 K/BB rate) over his first 115 2/3 pro innings, all as a reliever. He briefly cracked the Double-A level last season, tossing three innings for Altoona.