Breaking down the Joe Smith trade for the LA Angels

May 19, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Joe Smith (R) celebrates with catcher Carlos Perez (58) after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher Joe Smith (R) celebrates with catcher Carlos Perez (58) after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-4 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /
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The LA Angels spent most of the days before the trading deadline shopping some of their key pieces to the highest bidder. With minutes left before the 1 p.m. trade deadline, Angels GM Billy Eppler sprung into action.

One of the two moves the LA Angels made was to trade set-up man and fill-in closer Joe Smith to the Chicago Cubs.  In return the Angels got a low level minor league prospect named Jesus Castillo who has a tremendous upside.  You never know exactly what your getting when you acquire a prospect that is only in Single-A like Castillo, but it was worth the risk for the Angels for two reasons.

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The first reason is that if the Angels kept Joe Smith until the end of the season they would have gotten nothing in return as Smith will be a free agent at the end of the season.  Jesus Castillo is a hard-throwing right hander who has pitched in Single-A Eugene this season for the Cubs.  He was 2-3 with a 3.27 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 33 inning so far this season.  Castillo’s numbers are not bad, but he has only pitched seven games so this season due to injuries.

However, according to chicagonow.com, Castillo has improved greatly from when he was first acquired by the Cubs from Arizona.  He now has a fastball between 89-93 MPH and advanced change-up.  Castillo is still trying to develop his curve ball which could prove to be the missing link to him progressing up to the majors.  Chicagonow.com said, “Pretty good scouting here by the Angels as Castillo was unknown to most fans, even Cubs fans. He is a risk worth taking for the Angels, as they may have themselves a deep sleep from the Cubs system.”

As for what the Angels gave up to get Castillo, Joe Smith, it is tough to part with such a good guy who has been a great veteran presence in the clubhouse and very effective on the mound for the Angels in the 2.5 seasons he has been with the team. Smith was 1-4 this season with a 3.82 ERA, not his best season, but considering he tried to pitch for almost a month while being hurt because the Angels bullpen was very thin at the time, his numbers aren’t bad.

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Smith in his Angels career was 13-11 with a 2.89 ERA and a whip of 1.081, which included the best year of his career in 2014 when he went 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA with 15 saves and a 0.804 WHIP with 68 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 74.2 innings pitched.  All those numbers were career best for Smith wins, ERA, saves, WHIP, strikeouts, and walks.

So what is the second reason the Angels decided to trade Smith? That is very simple and I can sum it up in two words: Cam Bedrosian.  The emergence of reliever Cam Bedrosian made it easier for the Angels to trade either Smith or closer Huston Street as he could fill in for either role.  Bedrosian has had a breakout season in 2016 he is 2-0 with an 0.92 ERA with 48 strikeouts and only 11 walks in 39 innings, and a stellar 1.00 WHIP.

Bedrosian had pretty much taken over Smith’s set-up role already while Smith was struggling in early July after coming off the DL.  With that being said, Huston Street may need to watch his job as Bedrosian could take that away if Street continues to struggle like he did on Sunday.  Bedrosian is definitely a closer-in-waiting as he will most likely take over that role at the very latest in 2018 when Street becomes a free agent after next season.

Next: Say it Ain't So, Joe

In conclusion, this trade was a win-win for both the Cubs and the Angels.  The Cubs got a veteran reliever to add to their bullpen for their chase for the World Series trophy. The Angels on the other hand got a pitcher with a lot of potential for a player they were going to lose anyway at seasons end, whose role was not a necessity anymore. Good Luck Joe, live long and prosper.