A quiet Saturday quickly turned into one of the busiest days of the offseason with Brian McCann joining the New York Yankees and Jhonny Peralta reportedly nearing a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Now comes word from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that coveted set up man Joe Smith has inked a three-year, $15 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels.
Smith, who turns 30 on March 22, has been of the game’s most durable and consistently effective relievers over the past three seasons with the Cleveland Indians, posting 2.01, 2.96 and 2.29 ERAs respectively. He topped 70 appearances and 63 innings in all three seasons, allowing only ten home runs with a WHIP at an impressive 1.16.
The right-handed sidewinder will immediately assume the Angels set up role ahead of closer Ernesto Frieri. His signing gives Los Angeles some new found depth at the back end of the bullpen with last season’s set up man Dane De La Rosa still on board to go along with the experienced Kevin Jepsen and left-hander Sean Burnett. General manager Jerry Dipoto also added Fernando Salas to the mix in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals.
At $5 million a year, Smith isn’t exactly a cheap option to fill the role, especially considering how hit-or-miss relievers tend to be from year-to-year.
Middle relievers are like French Fries: only good when they are not and they are usually cold by the time they get to your table.
— Michael Salfino (@MichaelSalfino) November 24, 2013
That said, the deal could end up looking like a bargain should Smith continue pitching at the high level we grew accustomed to seeing with Cleveland.
And speaking of Cleveland, they’ll be forced to fill voids in both the eighth and ninth innings after releasing former closer Chris Perez on Oct. 31. That’s never an easy task. They also won’t be due draft pick compensation since they didn’t extend a qualifying offer to Smith at the deadline.
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