It’s an annual tradition for basically every MLB team with even the slightest chance of contending to try to add bullpen help at the trade deadline, and that should be the case more than ever this year with bullpens having taken over the game — but in the same breath, major-league relievers having combined for an unimpressive 4.51 ERA and 1.37 WHIP this season. Giants closer Will Smith is undoubtedly the best reliever on the trade market this month — in fact, he may just be the best reliever in the game right now, no qualifiers required — so with the massive need for relief help among the contenders this year, it’s possible that he’ll be the most valuable player traded before the deadline.
Since returning from Tommy John surgery last May, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound lefty has been absolutely dominant. He posted a 2.55 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, 12.1 strikeouts, and 2.5 walks per nine while seizing the Giants’ closer job and recording 14 saves last year. With a full offseason to prepare himself, he’s been even better in 2019, throwing for a 1.98 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP, 13.1 strikeouts, and 2.0 walks per nine while saving 23 games over 36.1 innings. He made his first All-Star team earlier this month, serving as the Giants’ only representative, but an extremely deserving one nonetheless.
Though the Giants played their best baseball of the season leading up to the All-Star break and now sit just 5.5 games out of the second NL wild-card spot, it still seems to be almost a foregone conclusion that Smith — a free agent at the end of the season — will be traded, just because San Francisco can’t pass up the chance to cash in such a valuable chip and try to strengthen their depleted farm system, especially since they have arguably the strongest relief depth in the majors.
Smith would be a good fit on literally any contending team that has the prospect capital to acquire him, but one fit that seems especially intriguing — and juicy for those who love chaos — is the Dodgers, the Giants’ bitter rival for the last 130 years (and a team where he could potentially be part of a Will Smith-Will Smith battery). The two teams haven’t made a deal since pinch-hitter extraordinaire Mark Sweeney was sent to LA in a waiver deal back in August of 2007, but with former Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi now being the Giants’ president of baseball operations — and, by all accounts, maintaining good relationships with his former coworkers — that wall may soon be broken down, and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi recently reported that the possibility of Smith being dealt to the Dodgers is “very real.” That’s particularly true since the bullpen is the only thing possibly holding the Dodgers back from being prohibitive favorites in the National League, and Zaidi theoretically should know LA’s farm system — and how to extract maximum value from it in a trade — than anybody. With that said, it’d still be a very controversial move from a PR standpoint, so the Giants will certainly be discussing Smith’s availability with plenty of other contenders as well.
Where do you think San Francisco will trade the 30-year-old lefty?
Where will the Giants trade Will Smith?
This poll is closed
He’s not getting traded