Will Smith wasted no time making a decision in free agency, signing with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday. What does that mean for the San Francisco Giants?
Now he’s a member of the Atlanta Braves.
While mulling over whether to accept the $17.8 million salary that came with the qualifying offer he was extended by the Giants at the start of the offseason, the Braves made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
With that, the first major domino on the free-agent market has fallen, and an already thin class of available relievers has lost its No. 1 option.
It’s no surprise that the Braves were the team to pay handsomely to add the standout southpaw.
As they chased a second straight division title last summer, Atlanta’s bullpen was shaky at best, which led to a pair of trades for Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene and Giants high-priced veteran Mark Melancon.
Melancon actually pitched extremely well down the stretch in the closer’s role, converting all 11 of his save chances with a 3.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 23 appearances.
In fact, that performance was good enough that it sounds like he will hold onto the ninth-inning job, even after the Smith signing.
That’s a surprising approach after Smith converted 34 of 38 save chances with a 2.76 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a career-high 13.2 K/9 in 2019, and considering the amount of money he was just paid to apparently be a setup man.
So we’ve touched on what the signing means for the Braves, but what does it mean for the San Francisco Giants?
Ahead we’ve highlighted a couple of notable takeaways from Thursday’s news, including what it means for the 2020 MLB draft and what it means for the 2020 bullpen.
Let’s get to it.