Atlanta Braves Sign LHP Will Smith
After coming off their division-winning season, the Atlanta Braves already have made moves to improve their bullpen as they signed southpaw Will Smith. Smith signed a three-year contract worth $39 million and with an option for 2023 worth $13 million. The team also has a $1 million buyout in the contract.
Smith came from the San Francisco Giants where he saved 34 games in 63 appearances. He had a 6-0 record with a 2.76 ERA in 2019. He also struck out 96 batters while walking 21 and held his opponents to a .196 batting average including .157 to left-handed batters.
Smith has been one of the best relievers in baseball since he joined the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen in 2014. He got his career started in 2012 for the Kansas City Royals before being traded to Milwaukee for Nori Aoki just before the 2014 season and that’s where he became a valuable reliever in the league. He was seen as a reliable member of the Brewers bullpen and was even promoted to being a set-up man for the team.
In 2016, at the trade deadline, He was dealt to the Giants in their push to the playoffs. The Giants did make the playoffs that season but were defeated by the eventual World Series champions Chicago Cubs. However, Smith would become a mainstay in the Giants bullpen for the next three seasons.
Smith will actually be returning home as he is from Newnan, GA, a 30-minute drive South from Atlanta. He also will be joining his teammate from San Francisco as he will be reunited with Braves closer Mark Melancon. Smith is expected to be the set-up guy for the Atlanta bullpen.
Tommy John Surgery
Will Smith did undergo Tommy John surgery before the 2017 season and missed the entirety of the campaign. He returned in 2018 and assumed the role of set up man then becoming the closer. In 2019, he was named to the National League All-Star team as he was the lone Giants representative.