Houston Astros: Team should look to bring Joe Smith back into the fold

Free agent pitcher Joe Smith, who should be re-signed by the Houston Astros (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Free agent pitcher Joe Smith, who should be re-signed by the Houston Astros (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The Houston Astros should consider bringing back reliever Joe Smith back on a new deal. Although he battled injuries, he did help the team win games. How?

Houston Astros fans — the offseason talk will continue as we edge even closer to a showdown of sorts in the next couple of weeks.  Yes, the Winter Meetings are upon us and we’re hoping to be overloaded with information regarding what deals the team will make to shape this roster for the 2020 season.

The main focus of the work that needs to be done this offseason is shaping the pitching staff, where there are currently a few vacancies, either from free agency or the team just simply wanting to move on from guys that underperformed.

The Houston Astros will need at least one — possibly two — starting pitchers going into 2020 because it’s highly likely that the team will be unable to re-sign Gerrit Cole, who’s expected to earn a multi-year contract just north of about $250 million.

With the pressing needs of this team wanting to remain a contender for the title, awarding Cole that kind of contract will handcuff the franchise to just one guy.  We all know that’s not how Jeff Luhnow operates so unless he’s able to take a discount — not likely because it’s the first trip to free agency after the best season of his career — he’s as good as gone.

But on the relieving front, some tweaks are likely going to have to be made.  I’m dead-set on the club re-signing Will Harris, who had a solid year with the team but another guy that they strongly need to consider bringing is Joe Smith.

Smith just completed a two-year, $15 million deal with the Houston Astros and now he’s a free agent.  Being able to bring him back will certainly depend on the demand for his services but I think he’s a guy that you probably could agree to contract on with little effect on the team’s total payroll.

It has to be said that Smith is 35-years-old — as well as Harris — so I’m positive the franchise will do their due diligence first before trying to award a contract to any of those guys.  But Smith is a strong candidate to bring into the fold.

The main problem with Smith was his health as he ruptured his Achilles’ last offseason and missed the first few months of the 2019 season, making his debut back July 14 against the Texas

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Rangers in relief.  I really do think you can view that instance as a one-off because how often does that happen?

But beyond that point, he was actually amazingly solid for the rest of the way with a few bumps in the road — especially in the postseason — but largely was able to do his job in good manner.

Through 25.0 innings, Smith had a 1.80 ERA along with 22 strikeouts to five earned runs, a 0.96 WHIP, a 3.09 FIP, 0.7 HR/9 and 7.9 K/9 for the remainder of the 2019 season.

Considering the time the right-hand, side-arm hurler missed, that’s remarkable that he was able to get back into form so quickly.  Smith did get the opportunity to appear in 28 games.

Just for that, I’d bring him back for seconds but it’s tough to gauge what the 13-season veteran and his camp — he’s represented by Meister Sports Management — wants.

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Nonetheless, if Jeff decides to bring him back, I’d totally be unopposed to it so we’ll have to see what happens.

Let’s go Houston Astros!

What do you think?  Feel free to comment in the section below.