San Francisco Giants best trade chip is Will Smith, not Madison Bumgarner
By Dallin Duffy
Madison Bumgarner is the biggest name that could be on the move for the San Francisco Giants this summer, but Will Smith is the team’s best trade chip.
For San Francisco Giants fans, the rapidly approaching July 31 trade deadline is the closest thing we have to Christmas in July.
With a veteran-filled roster residing in the NL West cellar, the Giants are in a prime spot for a good ole’ fashioned fire sale. Soon enough, fans will be reading scouting reports on all the new young talent that the inevitable trades will bring back, but for now, the discussion still centers on who will be finding a new home outside the Bay this July.
Veteran ace Madison Bumgarner has seemingly been at the center of trade rumors longer than any other player in the league, and for good reason. He’s still among the most talented lefties in the game, he’s a proven winner in October, and he’s headed for free agency next winter.
Other guys like Trevor Gott, Tony Watson and Brandon Belt have had their respective names thrown around a lot as well, but the player that might wind up drawing the most interest is Will Smith.
The “Fresh Prince of the 9th Inning” has been fantastic this season for the Giants. He’s gone a perfect 18-for-18 in save opportunities while posting a 2.20 ERA and racking up 42 strikeouts in 29 innings of work.
His 3.0 Win Probability Added trails only fellow NL West hurlers Hyun-Jin Ryu (3.4) and Kirby Yates (3.1) among all NL pitchers.
The left-handed Smith has also fared well against both lefties (.192 BAA) and righties (.162 BAA), which makes him a great fit in any contender’s bullpen.
A quick inventory of the rosters of contending teams shows that there is a much greater need for late-inning relievers than there is for starting pitching this year. With a pressing need and Smith ranking as one of the most effective bullpen arms in baseball, he will be a more valuable commodity than even Bumgarner.
The Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays top the long list of postseason contenders in need of more bullpen muscle. For some of those teams, the situation is pressing enough that they should be willing to part with a significant haul to acquire Smith.
It’s a near certainty—especially given his impending free agency —that we will see San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith pitching elsewhere down the stretch. For now, we can enjoy watching him stay perfect in the ninth and dream of the young studs that could be coming to take his place.