While he may not announce his return through Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins, former Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Joe Smith could be making his way back to the lakefront. With the Los Angeles Angels in last place in the AL West, the Indians are one of several teams inquiring about Smith heading into the August 1 MLB trade deadline. According to Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball, the Indians are joined by the New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals in the hunt for the side-armed hurler.
The 32-year-old Smith, who was a part of the 2013 92-win Tribe bullpen which featured Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez, has a 4.08 ERA, 24 strikeouts, six saves and five holds in 35 1/3 innings this season. A week ago, ESPN's Jim Bowden ranked Smith 13th of 14 potentially available relief pitching trade options, a list headline by New York's Adam Miller and another former Indian in Philadelphia's Jeamar Gomez.
With the cost of bullpen arms being set by the Chicago Cubs paying dearly for Aroldis Chapman, the Indians—whom Heyman says "may be handicapped by a lack of funds"—could be looking at a more affordable option in Smith. The mildly coveted reliever is in the final year of a three-year, $15.75 million deal and will become a free agent at the end of this season.