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Astros sign Joe Smith to 2-year deal

The Astros bolster their bullpen with a funky righty.

MLB: ALDS-New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians
Smith will take his funky delivery to Houston.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros have agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with righty reliever Joe Smith, per a tweet from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. The team has since announced the deal.

Smith has long been one of baseball’s best middle relievers, with an excellent 2.97 ERA over 11 seasons, with the bulk of his work coming with the Mets, Angels and Indians, where he finished his 2017 campaign in his second stint with the club. While Smith’s 2017 season (which also included time with the Blue Jays) produced a higher-than-career-average 3.33 ERA, he posted career-bests in FIP (2.10), K/9 (11.8) and BB/9 (1.7). Smith did not walk a single batter in 21 appearances after returning to the Indians on July 31st.

The sidearming right-hander is amazingly the 11th right-handed reliever to sign during the Winter Meetings, and may just garner the cheapest contract. In another tweet, McTaggart notes that the Astros had offered another reliever two years and $12 million before that reliever signed with another team. McTaggart says that he “expects” Smith’s deal to fall in that range. The next-cheapest contract doled out at the Winter Meetings was Pat Neshek’s, for 2 years and $16.25 million with the Phillies.