As the San Francisco Giants enter Spring Training, one of the potential question marks surrounding the Opening Day Roster is who the closer will be. For me, the answer is clear: it has to be Will Smith.
The other names in the running are Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon. Both are proven closers, but when given the opportunity the last few years with the San Francisco Giants, the results have been less than ideal.
We all know that Melancon has struggled mightily with injury since he donned the orange and black, but even when he has been on the mound he has been largely ineffective. Even more so considering the large contract the Giants gave him to be a reliable closer.
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Melancon claims that he feels fully healthy, which is definitely a good sign heading into camp. But to start the year, Will Smith absolutely has to be the closer for the Giants.
This of course assumes that he doesn’t get hurt or get completely rocked in Spring Training. If Melancon or Dyson pitch nearly flawless while Smith tanks, then we can have a discussion. But if nothing appears to be seriously wrong with Smith’s mechanics, then he should be the man you give the ball to in the ninth inning.
He proved he is more than capable of closing out games last year. He closed 14 games out of 18 opportunities which isn’t spectacular but isn’t all that bad relative to the Giants’ closer performance since 2016.
Plus, keeping Smith the closer will boost his trade value. If he continues to show that he is a solid closer, then the Giants can deal him to a team desperately in need of someone to get the last three outs.
If he is shaky to start the season though, at least the Giants will have Melancon and Dyson to fall back on. But if nothing drastic occurs from now until Opening Day, then Will Smith is and should be the undisputed closer.