Under the Radar: Josh Smoker For Daniel Zamora

A little over a year ago, the Mets traded left-handed reliever Josh Smoker to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for fellow lefty Daniel Zamora and cash considerations.

Smoker, 30, spent two seasons with the Mets: 2016 and 2017. In the latter, he appeared in 54 games and logged a 5.11 ERA, 4.92 FIP, 1.704 WHIP and 10.9 K/9.

New York designated him for assignment at the end of last January to clear up a 40-man roster spot, and the team was able to swing a deal, though they acquired a little-known relief prospect who had at the time never pitched above Double-A.

When the deal was made, a lot of people criticized the deal because Zamora was a former 40th round pick. The move seemed like a wash to some at the time, just swapping a struggling MLB reliever for minor league filler.

However, Zamora has shown his worth and debuted in 2018, where he was one of the bright spots out of New York’s pen at the end of the campaign.

After a solid season with Double-A Binghamton where he made an All-Star appearance, the Mets rewarded him with a promotion, and he promptly registered a 3.00 ERA, a 2.38 FIP, a 1.000 WHIP and 16.0 K/9 in nine innings pitched.

Though a small sample size, Zamora showcased his strong slider, and it paid off, as shown by his 16 strikeouts in just nine innings.

As for Smoker, he pitched with the Pirates and Detroit Tigers last year, where he was worth -0.3 bWAR in eight appearances. He will look to put it together in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, where he recently got a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite.

The Mets have brought in lefties Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan this winter, the latter of which will compete with Zamora for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Even if Zamora doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training, New York has a solid reliever that can come down from Syracuse and slot right into the bullpen.

At the end of the day, it seems as though the Smoker for Zamora trade was a win on the Mets end. With his effective slider and his downward plane, there is reason to believe that his small sample size in the majors this past year can stay consistent going forward.

About Rob Piersall 1211 Articles
Rob Piersall is a fourth-year student at SUNY New Paltz, studying journalism with a minor in communications. He is also the managing editor for his school's newspaper, The Oracle. A Mets fan since the age of six in 2001, Rob is senior editor here at MMO. His favorite thing is reporting breaking Mets news and transactions as well as writing columns. He is also ready to see what Mickey Callaway brings to the table in 2018. LGM! Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobPiersall.