Very bold with their offseason additions, the Phillies have made their intentions clear. Their competitive window is open right now and they are likely to be aggressive shoppers at the deadline, given that the race in the NL East will probably come down to the wire. Starting pitching might be more of a priority for the Phillies—among NL teams only the Giants and the St Louis Cardinals rotations have been less productive per FanGraphs WAR—but there is definitely room for Smith in the bullpen. The ongoing injury woes of David Robertson have left a hole in the late innings.
Another team in a tight race in the NL East, the Braves will surely be looking to add pieces as they push for a postseason berth. The Braves relievers rank 27th in MLB in terms of FanGraphs WAR, so it would make sense for them to prioritize the bullpen as an area to improve. As a team, they have blown 7-of-20 save opportunities this year, so they will be prioritizing someone like Smith who can get outs in high-leverage situations.
Having offered up No. 1 prospect Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for Aroldis Chapman in pursuit of the World Series in 2016, the Cubs have shown they will spend big to get the right reliever. They have blown nearly half of their save opportunities (8-of-17) and their relievers rank 21st in MLB in terms of FanGraphs WAR, so there is room for improvement there. They might well see Smith as the perfect foil to right-handers Steve Cishek and Brad Brach, who have been their standout performers in relief so far in 2019.
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It remains to be seen where San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith will ultimately land this summer. But given his standing as an upcoming free agent, his value as a standout late-inning reliever and the Giants path as sellers, it’s all but certain he will be playing elsewhere by Aug. 1.