Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Smith’s Going to Cleveland!

Here’s something that makes sense: Joe Smith is going to Cleveland.

Why does it make sense? Cleveland is in a go-for-it mode that’s not typical around those parts — think last year’s Andrew Miller trade, or last winter’s acquisition of some guy with a parrot — and, although he’s a rental reliever, Smith has been ridiculously good this season, and is cheap. He makes just $3 million this year, and in 35.2 innings over 38 appearances he’s struck out 51, walked 10, and allowed 30 hits. One blown save to 13 holds. His FIP, and xFIP, and SIERA have all been better than his ERA — good defence, Jays! — plus he e’s kept the ball in the ballpark, he’s had 19 shutdowns to 2 meltdowns, he’s 13th of 166 relievers in WPA, and in the top third by WPA/LI and RE24.

I wrote all of that last night, but it all holds true! (Not mentioned, his suddenly sparkling 12.5% swinging strike rate).

Plus, Smith pitched for Cleveland for years, so they know him well — albeit not the high strikeout monster he’s become this year — and I think there’s a decent chance that the Jays front office has some familiarity with Cleveland’s system, too.

And here we have it:

Smith is a better chip than Francisco Liriano, and that deal went really well! The return might not be as immediate, though. To wit:

Aaaaaand cue morons:

Of course the howls about giving Smith away have already started in my Twitter feed, which… jesus. If Nightengale is right — and I must admit, at the moment I’m writing this I’m kinda hoping that he’s seen Passan’s tweet and is freewheeling from there (it’s Nightengale after all) — this is the correct take (i.e. mine):

Buuuuuut as I go back to Twitter to paste that in, I see that Nightengale indeed looks correct, and that they’re names not a whole lot of people are going to be familiar with — even prospect watchers.

But “not well known” obviously doesn’t mean nothing. And as tough as it is for the fucking clowns of the world to trust this front office (or to, y’know, miss an opportunity to clownishly act like Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro are bumbling fucking dumbfucks screwing up transactions at every turn — or worse, in this case, trying to help their buddies in Cleveland), we probably should on this.

Not as exciting as the haul for Liriano, I don’t think. But certainly a lot better than letting Smith walk for nothing at the end of the season. And, y’know, let’s evaluate this one in a couple years. (Though… getting something for a pending free agent means it’s already a win, of course. I just mean, let’s not flip out about SCAWY NON-TOP THIWTY PWOSPECTS just because.)

  • Will Murray

    Not an optimal return. As much as I could convince myself Shapiro and Atkins know the system and we should try and read something into this, I wonder whether this is more about getting Smith a chance to be closer to home where his mother is battling Huntington’s disease. I highly doubt the Jays turned down anything vastly superior, so if the Jays simply did a favour for Smith in the face of nothing else out there worth trading for, good enough on them.

  • AD

    I was initially wrong about the liriano trade i’ll admit. But jays bungled up the smith trade prettyyy bad. Did they not see what teams are giving up for good relievers?? Smith is valuable and one of the best relief arms out there this year. Cle surely wasnt the only team interested. This is very disappointing and reeks of shapkins helping their pals back in cle.

    • The Humungus

      Do think that maybe Smith wasn’t one of the best relief arms out there? That maybe he’s a side-armer in his mid 30’s who was left off the playoff roster by the Cubs? That maybe his weird K/9 rate spike isn’t sustainable in the eyes of other teams?

      Trades don’t happen in a vacuum, man. If this is the best they can get, then this is the best they can get. But also, maybe Atkins is high on Panonne? He was in charge of player development when Panonne was drafted.

      • Mule or etc...

        Well the weird thing is that there have only been two Joe Smiths in the majors. I would’ve figured 30.

        But the actual weird thing is Smith has a high BABIP and a low strand rate which suggest he’s actually been better than his results.

        But then you look at his splits and you realize he’s kind of a ROOGY. He’s also a groundball pitcher so a lot of his success is going to depend on who is playing the infield.

        Only the Jays know what they could’ve gotten for him. I for one just hope they come out the deadline with a player we can label the catcher of the future after Pentecost inevitably busts. They need to keep that false hope pipeline flowing.

    • Glassman

      Or…. you could stop pretending to be an expert. Liriano is being used as a lefty reliever. How many Right handed relievers are out there? Quite a few. Smith is cheap cost wise so the Jays can’t do much in absorbing money to get better prospects. Also, low minors meaning you have to wait a few years to actually know anything. Maybe the Jays weren’t getting many offers for him seeing how he just came back from the DL from a sore THROWING shoulder.
      Also, I like the point that Will Murray made. It would be interesting if they did that for him. Similar to letting Buck play instead of JP in September when the Jays were out of it.
      Sportsnet has the pitcher as an SP throwing 110 innings with 120 K’s so far this year….. Not sure which is right..