The SF Giants may have hoped to retain Drew Smyly, but the southpaw has signed with Atlanta Braves, per team.
According to a post on the organization’s Twitter, Atlanta has signed left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly to a one-year $11 million contract. Smyly had spent the 2020 season on a much less lucrative one-year deal with the SF Giants. While injuries plagued the start of his season, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball to close the season.
In Jeff Young’s review of last offseason’s starting pitching signings, he wrote the following about Smyly:
"For years, Smyly has flashed the potential to be a mid-rotation arm, but injuries derailed his career. The left-handed hurler battled a blister issue that put him on the shelf for a good part of the 2020 season.However, when he was healthy, Smylyl was just as effective as Gausman. In 26.1 innings, Smyly generated a 3.42 ERA (2.01 FIP) with a 37.8 percent strikeout rate against an 8.1 percent walk rate.If he had stayed healthy throughout the year, he may have been a candidate to receive a qualifying offer as well. That said, the 31-year-old should have no problem attracting interest on the open market after a solid season in 2020, including from the Giants."
Smyly had expressed interest in a reunion with San Francisco, but born and raised in Arkansas, a return closer to home might have been appealing for the southpaw. The loss obviously hurts the Giants who had a strong case to retain him, and they’ll have to look elsewhere now.
Skeptics would point out that teams like the Giants may have remained hesitant to committ much to Smyly in terms of guarantees. Most projections had Smyly signing a one-year deal worth somewhere between $5-8 million. In the end, his case rested heavily on a performance that spanned less than 30 innings. Needless to say, Atlanta clearly believes his 2020 performance can be replicated going forward.
Atlanta adding Smyly continues the trend of that front-office acquiring former Giants players. The team traded for Mark Melancon last trade deadline, signed Will Smith in the offseason, and added Pablo Sandoval this season as well. That’s on top of more long-term former Giants like Charlie Culberson and Adam Duvall.
If Drew Smyly stays healthy in 2021 and builds off his success, he could be in line for a lucrative multi-year deal next offseason. Perhaps at that point, the SF Giants will find a way to reenter the market for his services.