Following last night’s thrilling win over the Reds, fans are still very upset with Will Smith for allowing a moonshot to Joey Votto to tie the game, which was only Votto’s third home run against a left-handed pitcher. After costing Atlanta a game (and an 8 game winning streak) against Washington over the weekend, this article should be music to the ears of Braves fans. Zachary Rymer of Bleacher Report did “The MLB Player from Every Team Most Likely to Be Traded in 2021-22 Offseason“, and he had a pretty reasonable and logical candidate for the Braves — the aforementioned closer, Will Smith.
With first baseman Freddie Freeman and starters Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly among a slate of players ticketed for free agency this winter, Atlanta’s offseason figures to be more so focused on signings rather than trades. And yet here’s one for the ol’ “Wild Ideas” folder: What if Atlanta shops Will Smith?
He’s been more good than great since signing a three-year, $39 million contract ahead of the 2020 season, posting a 3.86 ERA over 65 appearances. He’s also potentially expendable now that Richard Rodriguez is in town, so don’t rule out Atlanta trying to get out from under Smith’s $13 million salary for 2022.
Smith had a pretty good stretch over June and July in 2021, but it’s clear that there are better options on the roster. Richard Rodriguez showed last night that, once again, he can get outs in critical situations. With the Braves having little to no trade candidates on the active MLB roster besides Smith, the idea makes even more sense once you consider his struggles and contract. I think Smith could still benefit the team as a setup man, but going forward, Rodriguez needs to handle closer duties. With a tight payroll, Alex Anthopoulos will have a big decision to make regarding Smith in the coming offseason
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