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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Joe Smith

MLB: Spring Training-Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Smith is a 33-year-old (his birthday was a week ago, I’m sure he’d still accept a card), right-handed reliever. The Jays signed him to a 1-year, $3 million free agent contract this winter.

Joe has played 10 seasons in the majors, playing for 4 teams. In 639 games (all in relief) he has a 2.93 ERA. In 570.2 innings, he’s allowed 474 hits, 210 walks and 476 strikeouts.

Last year, splitting time between the Angels and the Cubs, he pitched in 54 games, 52 innings, 47 hits, 8 home runs, 18 walks and 40 strike outs.

He’s been used as a ROOGY. Career RHB have hit .215/.286/.305 and LHB hit .244/.337/.369, so he’s not awful against lefties, but you would prefer to see him against right-handers. Last year, his splits were pretty even (.266/.341/.357 vs. RHB, .220/.312/.415 vs. LHB), but that was likely a sample size thing.

He doesn’t throw hard, 88.3 mph fastball (per FanGraphs), a slider (80.0 mph) and the occasional change.

And, of course, he throws from the side. If you haven’t seen it, here is a clip from YouTube:

The Jays did a good job of not overpaying for relievers. $3 million for a season of Smith seems smarter than $30 million for the next four years of Brett Cecil. And I really like Brett Cecil.

I find, with Gibby, heck with most managers, first impressions are a big thing. If Smith has a few good outings, in the first couple of weeks, we’ll see a lot of him. If his first couple of outings are bad, he’ll end up buried in the back of the pen. But then, in OOTP 18, I traded him away before the end of April.

Joe pitched in 9 spring games, 8.2 innings, 10 hits, 5 earned, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts.

PECOTA predicts a 5.37 ERA in 50 innings for Smith. I’ll take the under on the ERA. ZiPS has him at 3.59 in 57 innings. I like that one better.

I’m curious at how he’s going to be used. It would be interesting if he’s paired with Aaron Loup to get through innings, pairing a LOOGY and a ROOGY.