The Angels have been busy this week. Shortly after trading Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk to the St. Louis Cardinals for David Freese and Fernando Salas, the team has added to their bullpen by signing former Indians reliever Joe Smith to a three-year contract worth $15.75 million, as first reported by CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.
The team has indicated that 2013 closer Ernesto Frieri will maintain that role in 2014, so it appears as though Smith will begin his Angels career as a 7th or 8th inning specialist. Smith has been consistently excellent over his last 3 seasons in Cleveland. He's been worth 2.0 fWAR over that time despite only pitching 197 innings out of the bullpen -- which made him one of the more valuable non-closer relief pitchers in baseball over that span. The right-hander was no slouch before settling into a dominant rhythm from 2011-2013. His career 2.97 ERA and 1.26 WHIP are both very respectable numbers.
Smith is known for his uncommon sidearm delivery -- which typically helps him keep the ball on the ground. And though he had a career-low 49.1% ground ball rate, the Angels are likely to expect him to return to something closer to his career rate of 57.2%.
Before signing with the Angels, Smith also drew interest from the Indians, Rockies and Phillies. Colorado instead opted to sign LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year deal, and the Phillies are considering bullpen options like Edward Mujica. Angels' GM Jerry Dipoto appears to have used an extra year or two to secure one of the better relievers on the market at a fair AAV (average annual value).
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