The Giants are looking at improving their bullpen and the relief market is heating up. According to a report from Bob Nightengale, the Giants have checked in on Brewers’ relievers Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress.
By FIP, the Giants’ bullpen ranks sixth in the National League with a 3.95. Derek Law, Santiago Casilla, and Hunter Strickland have been the most dependable relievers for the Giants. In fact, Law ranks ninth in all of baseball by FIP. However, beyond that, their other relievers have been shaky at best and acquiring new, high-leverage relievers could help the first-place team with a deep run toward the Fall Classic.
The #SFGiants have checked in with the #Brewers on relievers Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress now that top closers are off the board.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 31, 2016
The 28-year old Jeffress is currently the Brewers’ closer and has 26 saves in 27 opportunities. In 43.2 innings of work, Jeffress has allowed just 11 earned runs on 44 hits and 11 walk while striking out 33. While his strikeout and whiff rates put him out of elite closer company, Jeffress makes due with a superior walk rate and a seeming knack for keeping the ball in the yard. He is arbitration eligible through the 2019 season.
Smith meanwhile is the elite lefty in the Brewers’ bullpen. Starting the season on the disabled list though appears to have hampered his performance coming off an absolutely dominant 2015 season. In 21 innings pitched, Smith has allowed nine earned runs on 18 hits and eight walks while striking out 21. Smith has also surrendered three home runs. Like Jeffress, Smith is under arbitration control through the 2019 season.
Whether the Giants are the ones to actually make a deal happen or not remains to be seen. Regardless though, the Brewers are publicly in a rebuild and their relievers could represent substantial trade tokens. Especially following the trades of Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Mark Melancon.