A deal that made so much sense from a Cubs perspective also worked out for Joe Smith, who left a Los Angeles Angels team that had been 14.5 games out of first place in the American League West and closed almost 2,000 miles of distance between him and his family in the Cincinnati area.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon says he wants the funk, and Smith gives this bullpen a different look as a veteran right-handed specialist with the sidearm action to throw sinkers and sliders and generate groundballs.
Beyond joining the team with the best record in baseball, Smith also appreciates the opportunity to be closer to his mother, Lee, who suffers from Huntington’s disease, a fatal genetic disorder that gradually destroys brain cells. That made Monday’s trade – the only move the Cubs made in the final hours leading up to the non-waiver deadline – such a win-win situation for Smith from a personal and professional standpoint.
[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]
“It’s going to be a fun ride,” Smith said. “I can’t wait.”
Swarmed by reporters at his new locker inside the Wrigley Field clubhouse before Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins, Smith was asked if he had thought about what it would be like to become part of the team that wins the franchise’s first World Series since 1908.
“I haven’t gotten that deep,” Smith said. “But growing up in Cincinnati, I know before I went to practice at 7 p.m., it was always the Cubs on WGN, so I was always laying on my couch watching those guys: Mark Grace, Gary Gaetti, Glenallen Hill and Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. It’s pretty cool to be close to home and close to some family, playing on a really good team in one of the best cities in the world.”