Joe Smith began 2016 with the Angels before coming over to the Cubs in a 2016 trade deadline deal and is currently a free agent. The righty, who uses an unorthodox submarine motion, posted a 3.46 ERA in 54 total appearances combined for both teams he pitched for. After a rough start to 2016, Smith's numbers improved once he got to Chicago, as his ERA, K/9 and WHIP all saw improvements. Smith is already a pitcher who relies more on control and a vast repertoire of pitches than velocity, as the right hander's average fastball velocity was 88.39 mph. That provides reason to believe his approach on the mound should not drastically change as he gets deeper into his 30's. However, considering Smith has always relied on getting ground balls, one cause for concern could be his diminishing groundball rate, which dipped from 59.1 percent in 2014 to 52.1. percent in 2015 to 50.3 percent in 2015.
Smith reached an agreement Sunday with the Blue Jays on a one-year contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. With a 3.46 ERA and 40:18 K:BB ratio over 52 innings with the Angels and Cubs last season, Smith's numbers took a dramatic step back compared to previous years, forcing the 33-year-old to settle for a short-term contract. Though the Blue Jays lack much high-end talent in their bullpen, Smith will still likely have to settle for low-leverage middle relief duties with his new team, as Jason Grilli and Joe Biagini profile as the top setup men for closer Roberto Osuna.
Smith (hamstring) was activated from the disabled list Thursday, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. After completing a rehab stint at Triple-A Iowa, Smith will join the Cubs after spending only the minimum 15 days on the DL. Coincidentally, his return lines up with roster expansion, so the Cubs are able to activate him without a corresponding move. Smith figures to play a key role down the stretch as a late-inning reliever.
Smith (hamstring) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa on Saturday, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The Cubs have not outlined a clear plan for Smith's rehab but it would seem he has a chance to return when eligible, which just happens to be Sept. 1 when rosters expand. Smith allowed three home runs in his first six appearances with the Cubs (spanning 3.2 innings), but he will likely play a prominent role down the stretch as part of the bridge to closer Aroldis Chapman.
Smith was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with a left hamstring strain, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Smith threw 16 pitches in Tuesday's win over the Brewers but came away with a tweaked hamstring. A subsequent evaluation revealed the strain, and the right-hander will now be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks. The Cubs are yet to announce a corresponding move, but they may simply opt to keep Trevor Cahill, who came up to serve as the 26th man for Tuesday's doubleheader, on the major league roster for now.
Smith pitched one inning against the Cardinals on Friday, striking out one and giving up a solo homer. Though Strop could step into the setup role vacated by Pedro Strop (knee), he hasn't pitched particularly well since coming over from the Angels at the trade deadline. In four appearances with the Cubs, he's given up five hits, two walks, and two runs - both on solo shots - and has struck out just one. The Cubs might be better off giving the seventh inning to Justin Grimm, Mike Montgomery, or Travis Wood.