The Cubs acquire reliever Joe Smith from the Angels


Some final deadline deals trickling through includes a nice little pickup for the Cubs, who have acquired reliever Joe Smith from the Angels for minor leaguer Jesus Castillo.

Smith is 1-4 with 3.82 ERA in 38 appearances this season. He doesn’t strike out a ton of guys and maybe walks a few to many for a late inning reliever, but he’s got a nice ground ball rate. The Cubs have Aroldis Chapman, so it’s not like they need Smith to close like he did, part of the time anyway, in Anaheim.

Castillo turns 21 next month. He’s getting his first taste of low-A ball this season after a couple of seasons of rookie ball.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.