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Giants: Who will replace All-Star Will Smith in the closer’s role?

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates beating the Milwaukee Brewers and getting the save at Oracle Park on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates beating the Milwaukee Brewers and getting the save at Oracle Park on June 15, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 3: Relief pitcher Tony Watson #56 of the San Francisco Giants delivers to home plate during the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 3, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The obvious internal options

The San Francisco Giants have two internal candidates that look like obvious potential replacements in 2020: Tony Watson and Trevor Gott.

Over his nine MLB seasons, Watson has a career 2.81 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with an 8.0 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate in 606 appearances.

The closer’s role is not completely foreign to the 34-year-old southpaw.

He spent the better part of two seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates closer, recording 25 saves in 2016 and 2017 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers midway through the 2017 season and returned to a setup role.

Gott is a little less obvious, but his numbers warrant consideration if Watson is kept in his current role.

In 50 appearances with the Giants last season after being claimed off waivers from the Washington Nationals, Gott posted a 4.44 ERA with a solid 9.7 K/9 against just 2.9 BB/9 in 52.2 innings.

He’s been particularly effective at Oracle Park, holding opposing hitters to a .192/.246/.288 over 138 plate appearances in 30 career games.

Even if the two are part of a closer-by-committee, the Giants do have the option to keep the closer role in-house with these two pitchers.

However, there is one more internal candidate that is worth mentioning…

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