Smith headed back to Cleveland in deal with Blue Jays
CLEVELAND (AP) — Looking to again ride their bullpen deep into the postseason, the Cleveland Indians added another arm by acquiring reliever Joe Smith from Toronto for two minor leaguers Monday.
A 33-year-old right-hander, Smith is 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 38 appearances this season. He returns to Cleveland after pitching for the Indians from 2009-13.
“A lot of fans of Smitty in this organization, so getting him back will be a lot of fun,” manager Terry Francona said before the AL Central leaders faced Boston.
Cleveland closed the deal on the deadline for making trades without waivers. Toronto received left-hander Thomas Pannone and infielder Samad Taylor.
The Indians won the AL pennant last season behind Andrew Miller and their bullpen. Cleveland would like to have as many strong relief options as possible for the stretch run this year.
The arrival of Smith should lessen the workload for Miller and Bryan Shaw, pitching in front of closer Cody Allen.
With injured regulars Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall both on rehab assignments, Francona liked this latest move.
“We’re in a little bit of a unique spot where we have a couple of guys coming back, so it put us in a little awkward position,” he said. “Getting Smitty, who we all know, has pitched late-inning leverage situations.
“We know him, he knows us. Everybody is going to be happy we’re getting him back — and you can include myself,” he said.
Smith has been one of the baseball’s most consistent relievers over the course of his 11-year career, never finishing a season with an ERA higher than 3.83.