Houston Astros: The top replacement options for Joe Smith

Houston Astros reliever Joe Smith (Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Astros reliever Joe Smith (Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Slated to be out for almost all of 2019, the Houston Astros are going to have to get creative in finding a fill in for Joe Smith. Who will it be? Look.

It was already a bad enough blow to the pitching staff when Lance McCullers had to have Tommy John surgery. Now, the Houston Astros are facing another dilemma within their pitching staff.

Recently, it was reported that relief pitcher Joe Smith tore an Achilles tendon while working out with the team. He has since had surgery to fix the issue. However, doctors have given it six to eight-month timetable for recovery.

By all calculations, that puts Smith at being out until August at the earliest. Additionally, he would also have to take extra time to begin a rehab assignment; especially, for that long of a downtime period.

All in all, this is putting the spacemen in a bind when it comes to the proverbial brothers in arms that is the pitching staff. While Smith wasn’t completely lights out, he still possesses some solid stuff. Namely, his four-seam fastball and slider are the go-to throws in his arsenal.

True, a 3.74 ERA last season was nothing to write home about but also nothing to sneeze at. Smith averages just over a strikeout per inning pitched. (1.04, to be precise.) That sort of production can’t be easily replaced. Nevertheless, according to GM Jeff Luhnow, the plan is to look internally for solutions.

Per Alyson Footer of MLB.com:

Some will read a statement like this and think it’s wishful thinking. But Luhnow is not wrong in saying any of this. When you’ve got arms from the likes of Josh James and Cionel Perez, just to name a few, you feel pretty good about your bullpen situation.

Also, let’s not forget about Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock. Though neither were used much in the post season this past October, they are still significant weapons. Peacock has a a filthy slider, while Devenski’s proverbial “circle of death” change-up pitch is nearly an automatic out. I made similar mention of these two back at the beginning of Spring Training last season.

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Regardless, the Astros will be fine with the current bullpen they have. We here at HOH wish Joe Smith a very speedy and painless recovery. Frankly, the roller coaster ride that is the off season still has many more twist and turns to go through.