MLB Trade Deadline Profile: San Francisco Giants reliever Will Smith
By Joel Reuter
The San Francisco Giants are poised to be one of the most active teams at this year’s MLB trade deadline.
Despite a 9-3 record in their last 12 games and a 4.5-game deficit in the wild-card standings, the San Francisco Giants still look like sellers as we approach the MLB trade deadline.
After all, they are still six games under .500 in last place in the NL West standings, and they have seven teams to hurdle in the wild-card standings to climb into the No. 2 spot.
With one eye already fixed on the future, a brief window of success in a rebuilding year can’t cause them to deviate from their long-term plans.
To that point, there are a number of potential trade chips on the roster, and the team has a prime opportunity to bolster the farm system over the next two weeks.
Closer Will Smith is the most valuable trade chip on the roster.
An All-Star for the first time this year, he’s nailed down 23-of-24 save chances with a 2.17 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and a career-high 13.0 K/9 against just 1.9 BB/9.
Toronto Blue Jays closer Ken Giles has been solid and has a remaining year of team control, but in terms of pure rental relievers, Smith is the No. 1 guy on the market.
The 30-year-old missed the entire 2017 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but returned strong last season with a 2.55 ERA and 12.1 K/9 while tallying 14 saves and six holds in 54 appearances.
In his first full season in the closer’s role, he’s emerged as one of the game’s elite bullpen arms.
According to Baseball Savant, his strikeout rate (39.4 percent) and xwOBA (.232) both rank in the 99th percentile leaguewide, and his 2.7 percent barrel rate checks in at the 98th percentile.
With a 2.00 FIP and strong peripherals across the board, there’s no reason to doubt his performance to this point.
The trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for a prospect package built around Gleyber Torres has been a popular best-case scenario comparison for what the Giants might expect to bring back in a trade.
At the very least, picking up at least one leaguewide top 100 prospect and another mid-level prospect or two seems likely, and those pieces could go a long way in the ongoing rebuild.
The San Francisco Giants have a chance to steer the relief pitcher market at this year’s MLB trade deadline, and closer Will Smith could wind up being the prize of this summer’s trade frenzy.