A week after landing their big acquisition of the summer trade season, the Cubs added another relief pitcher with closing experience, acquiring right-hander Joe Smith from the Angels for a Class A pitcher.
Smith, 32, has a 3.82 ERA with six saves in 38 relief appearances this season. He earned 15 saves with the Angels in 2014, before the Angels acquired Houston Street in late July to take over the closer role.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer called the side-arming Smith a “right-handed specialist,” capable of producing a lot of ground balls.
“We don’t have that look in our bullpen,” said Hoyer, who expects Smith to join the club Tuesday. “It’s nice to add that different look.”
The Cubs sent right-hander Jesus Castillo, 20, to the Angels. Castillo was 2-3 with a 3.27 ERA in seven starts for short-season Eugene.
The move comes a week after the Cubs acquired All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees in a four-for-one trade and less than two weeks after adding left-hander Mike Montgomery in a trade with Seattle.
Hoyer, who said the Cubs pursued controllable starting pitching and a left-handed bat, said one of the speed bumps in the market was the fact that two of the sellers (Cincinnati and Milwaukee) were teams in their division and another was the White Sox.
“It’s really hard to do deals with those teams,” he said.
Another speed bump: The weak free agent pitching market anticipated after the season drove up prices as teams held on to a lot of the more valuable pitchers, looking ahead at a potentially more robust pool of buyers in the off-season.
“I think you saw the first impact of the weak free agent market in the winter,” Hoyer said.
Among the players the Cubs pursued who went to other teams during the trading period were starters Drew Pomeranz (San Diego to Boston two weeks ago) and Matt Moore (from Tampa Bay to San Francisco Monday), outfielder Josh Reddick (from Oakland to the Dodgers Monday) and reliever Andrew Miller (Yankees to Cleveland Sunday).
Hoyer said the Cubs will continue to seek roster tweaks during the August waiver period before playoff-eligible rosters lock in at the end of the month.
“Things definitely don’t stop,” Hoyer said.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Smith, left-hander Brian Matusz was designated for assignment.
The Cubs recalled pitcher Spencer Patton before Monday’s game to join a bullpen forced to cover nine innings during Sunday’s 12-inning victory over Seattle.