The Texas Rangers added one of the more accomplished remaining free agents on the market, signing veteran reliever Will Smith to a one-year deal. The left-handed hurler is set to receive $1.5 million for 2023 with up to $2.5 million in performance incentives.
Texas Rangers add former SF Giants All-Star reliever on one-year deal
Smith will join familiar territory as he reunites with longtime Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Bochy managed the 33-year-old for parts of four seasons beginning in 2016. This includes a 2017 season in which Smith missed after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Similar to Joc Pederson, Smith has been a bit of a lucky charm over the past couple of seasons. The lefty reliever won a World Series ring with the Atlanta Braves (and Pederson as a teammate) in 2021 followed by another championship ring with the Houston Astros last season.
Smith's most successful stint as a major leaguer came in a Giants uniform. He was shipped to San Francisco midway through the 2016 season from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Phil Bickford and Andrew Susac. This move gave the Giants a reliable leverage reliever for the next several seasons.
In parts of three years with the Giants, Smith registered a 2.70 ERA, 2.58 FIP, 12.7 K/9, and a 4.29 SO/W ratio across 143 appearances. He converted 48 of 56 save opportunities and represented the Giants in the 2019 All-Star game.
He departed via free agency after that season, signing a three-year, $39 million pact with a team option for a fourth season. He was less effective during that contract, posting a 3.78 ERA but still managed to fill a role in the bullpen for the Braves and Astros.
In particular, Smith's 2022 season was one of the more challenging years of his 10-year career as he tallied a 3.97 ERA (4.26 FIP) in 65 appearances between two teams. Despite that, he managed to tally a 9.9 K/9, so he still records a fair number of strikeouts. In fact, he would have been a nice addition for the Giants this winter.
The Rangers have had a very busy offseason. They started by hiring Bruce Bochy as manager followed by rebuilding a rotation that now features Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney, and Nate Eovaldi. The bullpen remained a question mark and this signing goes a little in the way of addressing that.