TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays traded left-hander Francisco Liriano to Houston and right-handed reliever Joe Smith to Cleveland before the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline on Monday, according to multiple media reports.
The reports say Liriano was dealt for outfielder Nori Aoki and minor-league prospect Teoscar Hernandez, while Smith netted the Jays a pair of minor-league prospects.
The Blue Jays acquired Liriano from Pittsburgh at last season’s trade deadline. He had a 2-2 record in eight starts in Toronto’s 2016 playoff drive with a 2.92 earned run average and 52 strikeouts.
He came out of the bullpen to pick up the win in Toronto’s 5-2, 11-inning win over Baltimore in the 2016 American League wild-card game. He made just one appearance after that in the post-season, allowing two earned runs over a third of an inning in the Blue Jays’ 5-3 win over Texas in the A.L Division Series.
He had an up-and-down 2017 for the Blue Jays, posting a 6-5 record with a 5.88 ERA over 18 starts.
Liriano will add pitching depth to a Houston Astros team that had the best record in the American League (68-36) before Monday’s games.
Smith, an Ohio native returns to Cleveland, where he was a big part of the team’s bullpen from 2009-13. He signed as a free agent with Toronto in February and had a 3-0 record with a 3.28 ERA in 38 relief appearances with the Jays.
Aoki, a 35-year old native of Hyuga, Japan, batted .272 in 71 appearances with Houston this season.