Meeting the new fresh prince of the Atlanta Braves: Will Smith
The Atlanta Braves may have their best late inning option since trading away Craig Kimbrel. Let’s meet Will Smith.
Before we dive heavily into this, let’s go ahead and all agree that the Will Smith analogies and everything will probably get old soon, but feel free to keep doing them for the newly signed Atlanta Braves pitcher.
November 14th was a big day on the baseball calendar last year as it was the day for players that were offered a qualifying offer to decline or accept them with their former team. Right before the deadline, the Atlanta Braves swooped in and signed Will Smith to a 3 year, $39M deal. The contract also has a 4th year option at the same $13M AAV.
In the process, of course, the Atlanta Braves gave up a draft pick in the 2020 season. But at the end of the day, I will always opt for the proven player over the potential one.
This is a homecoming for the left-hander, who was born in Newnan, Ga., which as most know is just a hop and a skip from Truist Park.
The Atlanta Braves are the fourth career big league team to employ the lefty. He has made stops in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and of course San Francisco.
Obviously, his best career days were with the Giants as he was selected as an all star just last year, and he finished the 2019 campaign with 34 saves on the year.
As for the closer role for the Atlanta Braves, I would be pretty surprised if the Braves do not choose to go with Will Smith over his former teammate in San Francisco, Mark Melancon.
Perhaps manager Brian Snitker will go with a “platoon route” where he simply plays matchups late in the games.
I don’t think the Braves would shell out the kind of money they did and give up a draft pick for a pitcher they do not expect to see closing out games in the 9th inning though.