The Indians have brought back a familiar face to help their bullpen for the stretch run towards the postseason and a potential World Series championship.
They’ve acquired reliever Joe Smith from the Toronto Blue Jays for two prospects. Ken Rosenthal from Fox Sports and MLB Network was the first to report the deal.
To make room for Smith on the 40-man roster, they designated pitcher Perci Garner for assignment.
The Indians sent pitcher Thomas Pannone who was with Akron (AA) and shortstop Samad Taylor who was with Mahoning Valley (Low-A) at the time of the deal to Toronto.
Pannone was 6-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 14 starts with the Rubberducks this season. He’s spent five seasons with the Indians organization since they drafted him in the 9th round of the 2013 draft.
Taylor was hitting .300 with 4 home runs and 19 runs batted in 130 plate appearances for the Scrappers. He was a tenth round pick for the Indians in the 2016 draft.
Neither was a top 30 prospect in the Indians farm system according to media reports.
Joe Smith spent five seasons with the Indians from 2009 to 2013. He appeared in 303 games for the Tribe during that time, compelling a 18-11 record with a 2.76 ERA. He also recorded 3 saves, and finished 57 games as a relief pitcher.
Since he left Cleveland after the 2013 season, he spent time with the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago Cubs and this season with the Toronto Blue Jays. This season he’s appeared in 38 games and has a 3-0 record with a 3.28 ERA in 35 2/3 innings pitched. He’s given up 3 home runs but has struck out 51 batters and only walked 10.
The Indians found a left handed reliever that they were coveting since Boone Logan went down with injury. At the cost it was to acquire Smith, the organization had to make this move.
It’s also a feel good story. Smith along with his wife, CBS Sports sideline reporter Allie LaForce are both from Ohio and were in town last week for a fundraiser to help Joe’s mom who is battling Huntington’s disease. Being back home in Ohio will allow Joe to be closer to his mother while she’s fighting this disease.
LaForce took to social media after the trade was announced