Relief pitcher Joe Smith of the Houston Astros undergoes surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg. He is expected to be out six to eight months.
According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, reliever Joe Smith had surgery performed to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon that he suffered last week working out. The veteran, right-handed, side-armer won’t be able to return to the Astros until June at the earliest, possibly as late as August.
Smith was an integral part of Houston’s bullpen last season appearing in 56 games and earning 34 holds. In 2018 he had an ERA of 3.74 and held right-handed batters to a .215 average. He garnered 46 SOs in 45.2 innings pitched while walking only 12 batters. Smith had a very respectable 1.007 WHIP. He didn’t pitch in the ALDS for the Astros in the postseason last year but did appear in one game of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox.
The Astros acquired Smith, 34, as a free agent during the 2017 offseason. He is in the middle of a two-year $15 million contract and was set to earn $8 million in the 2019 season. He has a career record of 49-29 with a 3.02 ERA.
Houston does have some intriguing prospects down at the minor league level that could possibly move up to the big leagues to help in Smith’s absence. I’m sure many will get their chance in the upcoming Spring Training.
What impact this will have on the Astros’ plans for next season remains to be seen. Collin McHugh is slated to exit the bullpen to join the starting rotation. Brad Peacock‘s name has also been mentioned as a possible former starter to leave the role of a reliever and join the starters. Jeff Luhnow has stated that bullpen help is one of the areas that may need to be addressed this offseason. That need may have just moved up as a priority.