On the surface, this is not an exciting signing. The LA Angels gave reliever Joe Smith a three year contract worth $15 million in an effort to improve their bullpen. Quite frankly, I’m not sure many people even know who Smith is.
But this is not to take anything away from the 29-year old reliever who had a very good season last year for the Cleveland Indians. Smith appeared in 70 games last season pitching in 63 innings while recording 25 holds. The set-up man had a 2.29 ERA to go along with a 1.22 WHIP while striking out 54 batters.
This was the third straight season that Smith had a sub-3.00 ERA, so there is a track record here. While he is not an exciting name, Smith has proved to be a valuable member of the bullpen.
The Angels signed Smith to continue in his role as a 7th and 8th inning reliever with Ernesto Frieri as closer.
To me this move isn’t noteworthy because it was a divisional foe that made the signing. Instead it is something to be aware of as the Astros attempt to improve their bullpen going into 2014. Some money will have to be spent in order for that to happen. And as we saw in 2013, it needs to happen.