Cleveland Indians setup man Joe Smith is set to sign a 3-year, $15 million deal from the Los Angeles Angels, reports CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman on Saturday night.
The 29-year-old Smith was expected to depart this offseason, as general manager Chris Antonetti had previously addressed the team’s radical bullpen turnover. The Indians already released Chris Perez, while Smith, Rich Hill and Matt Albers all were set to be departing free agents.
Cleveland acquired Smith in a complicated three-team trade back in December 2008 that sent J.J. Putz to the Mariners and Franklin Gutierrez to the Mets. In his five years for the Tribe, he was 18-11 with a 2.76 ERA in 303 appearances. The submarine tosser was as consistent as they come in the back-end of the pen.
He posted an impressive 2.29 ERA in 2013, filling in several holes as the team’s setup man in absence of Vinnie Pestano and then closer in favor of Chris Perez. A Cincinnati native, he posted a career-best 1.7 jWAR during a 2.01 ERA performance in 2011.
The deal is pretty major money and length for a reliever. The Angels struggled with their bullpen last year, so the Indians likely were never in the neighborhood of that contract. Cleveland has signed Matt Capps and Mike Zagurski to minor league deals with spring training invitations. But it’s expected they’ll still add another extra arm or two by the end of the offseason.