The Braves finally have a real closer. They went out and signed the best reliever on the market, former Giant Will Smith:
Will Smith contract with #Braves, per source: Three years, $40M with option that could make it four years, $52M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2019
On the surface, this looks like a pretty affordable deal. $13 million is a fair AAV for the southpaw Smith, especially considering the team only has so many needs and not many big contracts. The deal also comes with a fourth-year club option that includes a $1 million buyout.
Smith is from Braves country, growing up in the Newnan area. He has been a model of consistency in his 7-year career and did not hold back when handed the closer role for the Giants in 2018. The Braves were reportedly interested in his services at the trade deadline.
Not only does this give the Braves a legitimate closer, but it also allows Mark Melancon and Shane Greene to each slide back an inning, giving them a formidable trio at the back end of the ‘pen, barring other moves. With the re-signing of Darren O’Day, the Braves have shored up the department they neglected last offseason. The bullpen should now be a strength going forward.
Smith did receive Tommy John Surgery a couple of years back, but he bounced back better than ever and was an All-Star last season. This is a big-time signing for the Braves.