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Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Are You Kidding Me? Jays Setup Man Joe Smith Joins the Parade to the DL

Well this sure is fun, isn’t it?

I mean, I think anybody who was paying attention expected to see more trips to the DL this season, with the league switching from a 15-day DL to a 10-day one. But not like this, Blue Jays. Not like this.

This, unlike the recent DL moves for J.P. Howell and Chris Coghlan for afflictions that seemed dubious at best, is far from a case of right-arm shittiness. Not exactly, at least. In his last appearance, last week against Tampa, Smith was awful, blowing a 6-3 lead (in the game that ended up being won by Russell Martin’s big home run an inning later). But on the whole Smith has been very good as the Jays’ setup man. He’s looked a whole lot better than the Joe Smith we all thought we were getting, even. His strikeout rate from 2014 through 2016 dipped from 23.9% to 21.0% to 18.4%, but has seen a remarkable spike this season, currently sitting at 36.7% — a far higher mark than anything he’s done in his career, either the major or the minor leagues. Smith has been getting roughed up by BABIP (.362) and has been a little bit home runs prone, but oh those sweet strikeouts!

So that’s not great. But… I dunno. Ryan Tepera being the club’s setup man for now should be fine. Seeing some higher leverage situations for Danny Barnes might be a good thing, even. And… well… the Jays’ bullpen will actually probably be OK. They are pretty OK, frankly — as a unit they’re in the top 10 by ERA, WAR, and WPA both in June and on the season as a whole. Some of that is Smith, and I’m not saying this won’t be a test for them, but no more so that Jason Grilli suddenly turning to dust, y’know?

The shoulder inflammation is a worry, but if that’s it, you’d hope that given a little rest he’ll be fine.

Either that or I’m way less worried by this than I rightfully should be. I GUESS WE’LL SOON FIND OUT!