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Angels agree to terms with free-agent reliever Joe Smith

Angels and the right-hander, a former Cleveland Indians setup man, agree to a $15-million, three-year deal that is not expected to be announced until Smith passes a physical.

November 23, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Indians reliever Joe Smith delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins last season.
Indians reliever Joe Smith delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins… (Hannah Foslien / Getty Images )

The Angels bolstered their bullpen Saturday night, agreeing to terms with former Cleveland Indians setup man Joe Smith on a three-year deal for about $15 million.

The signing, confirmed by a person familiar with negotiations but not authorized to speak publicly about them, is not expected to be announced until Smith passes a physical.

Smith, who turns 30 in March, has been one of the American League's most durable and dependable relievers for the last three seasons, compiling a 16-9 record and 2.42 earned-run average in 197 innings over 213 appearances.

The right-hander relies primarily on a hard sinker and slider delivered out of a sidearm motion designed to produce more groundouts than strikeouts. Because the Indians did not make a $14.1-million qualifying offer to Smith, the Angels will not relinquish a draft pick to sign him.

Smith should provide depth to a bullpen that ranked 26th in baseball with a 4.12 ERA and converted 41 of 58 save opportunities in 2013. If veteran left-hander Sean Burnett recovers from elbow surgery, Manager Mike Scioscia will have two solid setup options in front of closer Ernesto Frieri.

The Angels also have three power right-handers in Dane De La Rosa, Kevin Jepsen and Michael Kohn, and Fernando Salas, acquired from St. Louis on Friday, is expected to compete for a spot.

With Friday’s acquisition of third baseman David Freese and Saturday’s addition of Smith, Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto will devote his full attention to the team’s most pressing need -- the acquisition of at least one and probably two starting pitchers.

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