It has been a couple years since Joe Smith last played for the Houston Astros. While a ruptured Achilles cost him a chunk of time in 2019, Smith's first two seasons with the Astros were largely successful as he posted a combined 3.06 ERA in 84 appearances.
During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Smith chose to opt out as his mother was battling serious health issues. Unfortunately, his final year in Houston wasn't all that great after he struggled in the first half and then ended up getting traded to the Mariners that July.
Smith did play the 2022 season and made 34 decent appearances with the Twins, but that would prove to be the last time we will see him take a big league mound. He announced his retirement from baseball.
Former Astros reliever Joe Smith calls it a career
While Smith never made an All-Star team or put up video game numbers, the sheer fact that he was able to string together a 15-year career as a very good reliever is nothing short of remarkable. Smith was the classic journeyman reliever that just did his job every single season. He played for nine different teams in the league, pitched into his late 30s as a sidearmer somehow, and still managed a career 3.18 ERA and 3.66 FIP.
It's these sorts of careers that often get overlooked and under-appreciated by the general public. If Smith had found a way to stick with one team in his career, that fanbase would absolutely adore him. However, Smith found a way to keep finding team after team that needed a reliable bullpen arm and he gave that (and more) for a decade and a half.
Hats off to you, Joe. Enjoy your well-earned retirement and just know that there are at least some Astros fans that remember all the good work you did.