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Twins sign side-arm RHP Joe Smith for bullpen help

The Minnesota Twins and RHP Joe Smith have agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract through the 2022 season

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Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Twins and RHP Joe Smith have agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract through the 2022 season. The veteran pitcher, who turns 38 this week, will hopefully provide stability to a bullpen that is in desperate need of it.

Will Joe Smith solve all the Twins problems? No, but it’s a start. He’s a proven, distinguished setup man with a funky delivery.

Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins
Joe Smith with Houston at Target Field vs. Twins
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Smith has played in 832 MLB games (the most among all active pitchers) and has pitched 735 innings. His ERA over 14 seasons is 3.09. He did not play in the 2020 shortened season because his mother was sick. His career WHIP sits at 1.177.

He made his major league debut in 2007 for the Mets. Since then he has played for the Indians, Angels, Cubs, Blue Jays, Astros and most recently the Mariners.

If you remember last July, he was the guy who pitched for the Astros and Mariners for both teams in the same series. Smith pitched a Monday game for Houston, was traded Tuesday, made an appearance Tuesday night for Seattle against Houston. The ol’ dugout switcheroo, that’s baseball.

Anyway, here’s the press release from the Twins:

While he’s coming off a rough year on the hill, Smith could rebound nicely with the Twins.

2021 Stats

Houston: 1-1 Record, 7.48 ERA, 21.2 IP, 17 K, 4 BB, 1.800 WHIP

Seattle: 3-3 Record, 2.00 ERA, 18 IP, 17 K, 4 BB, 0.889 WHIP

The Twins are still working to iron out a starting rotation for 2022. Offseason signees Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy will likely be joined by Joe Ryan (acquired in Nelson Cruz trade) and Bailey Ober alongside hopefully another SP yet to be on the Twins' current roster. Rocco has made it pretty clear Dobnak is still having finger issues.

Smith has never started an MLB game and will be strictly a setup man in a pen with Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, likely Griffen Jax, Caleb Thielbar and a few others TBD after spring training.

Some non-baseball facts about Joe Smith:

  1. Ohio through and through, born in Cincinatti, went to high school just outside the city and played college ball at Wright State.
  2. Married to CBS Sports/Turner Sports (TNT) reporter, also from Ohio, Allie LaForce.
  3. According to LaForce’s social media post in March 2022, the two are expecting their first child, but it’s been a journey for them, and she documents it in a blog.
  4. Smith lost his mother to Huntington’s Disease in 2020. He opted to not play in the 2020, shortened COVID-19 season to spend it with her.
  5. He now spends much his free time bringing awareness and advocating for a cure of Huntington’s Disease. He and his wife started a foundation: It’s actually pretty incredible if you want to check it out.