Houston Astros: Why the team picked RHP Joe Smith for the job


The Houston Astros finally made a splash in the Winter Meetings by signing free agent right-hander Joe Smith, who finished 2017 with the Cleveland Indians.  Here’s why I think they picked him out of what’s available.

The Houston Astros have made it no secret that they’re on the hunt for quality arms on the free agency front as well as making trades in order to acquire the necessary talent.  I’m sure the franchise wouldn’t mind another starter but the priority seems to be in the light of shoring up the bullpen.

Our bullpen was quite solid throughout the season but because of the injuries to our starters, the guys we had in the stable were pitching innings way above what they normally would and it’s quite remarkable the job they did when times were rough.

But help is on the way with the Houston Astros being able to sign RHP Joe Smith to deal.

MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart confirmed that the news was official by the club:

Keep in mind that the team lost setup man Luke Gregerson to the St. Louis Cardinals off a two-year, $11 million pact.  The Astros quickly got into the fray of the available relievers and Smith obviously was the best fit for what the team is trying to continue — pitching dominance from all levels of our staff.

Smith seems like he’s the perfect guy to insert as the setup when A.J. Hinch wants to take it easy on Will Harris and Chris Devenski.  He’s no stranger to generating strikeouts and keeping his WHIP cracking loud for everyone to behold.

According to Brooks Baseball, his calling card is his sinker, coupled with a four-seam fastball

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that can certainly get the job done.  He doesn’t throw a curve ball to which I thought that was a prerequisite to being a pitcher for the Houston Astros.  But obviously he can get guys out a numbers of ways as right-handed batters — who he’d be primarily pitching to — hit .220 off of him back last season.

This isn’t necessarily the flashiest of deals but I’m not doubting Jeff Luhnow ever again.  I cried foul whenever we signed Charlie Morton and I was ABSOLUTELY wrong about how productive he was through the season plus the playoffs.  Because of his history with injuries, I honestly thought he wouldn’t have been able to stay healthy period.

But that’s why pencils have erasers and I’m more than ready to have my mea culpa right now in this post.

Next: A take on all of the pitchers the Astros are targeting

Honestly, I think he’s a guy than can help us out quite a bit and we’ll have to see what his impact will be moving forward.

Smith, 33, posted a 3.33 ERA, 71 strikeouts, one save and a stellar 1.037 WHIP through 54.0 innings pitched, splitting time between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Indians last season.

Go Astros.