The Milwaukee Brewers will be in the market for some left-handed relief help this offseason. One possible option could be to bring back Will Smith in another trade with the Giants.
Back in 2016 at the July trade deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers traded Will Smith to the San Francisco Giants for then-top Giants prospect Phil Bickford and backup catcher Andrew Susac. Susac never amounted to much in the big leagues and Bickford has gone through his own set of issues on and off the field. His prospect stock has dropped considerably.
Since being traded to the Giants, Smith required Tommy John surgery in 2017, but returned in 2018. Now that the Giants are looking to scale back a little bit, they appear to be open to trading the lefty reliever.
Will Smith On The Market
According to Mark Saxon of The Athletic, the Giants have received a ton of interest in Will Smith.
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) December 11, 2018
The division rival Cardinals are among those interested in Smith, but there are several other teams involved.
The Milwaukee Brewers do need a left handed reliever after non-tendering Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno, and Will Smith does have a history with Milwaukee. He was a solid setup man for 2.5 seasons with the Brewers, pitching to a 3.28 ERA in 181 games.
Last year, Smith finished with a 2.55 ERA in 54 appearances. He had a 12.1 K/9 ratio and brought down his BB/9 ratio to 2.5, his lowest since 2013. His wipeout slider is still devastating to left handed hitters.
Lefties hit only .171 against Smith last season.
What Could Will Smith Cost?
Smith is entering his final year of arbitration, and he’s projected to earn $4.1 million. Given that it’s his final year of control, Smith will not cost a team’s top prospect like he did in 2016, when he had several years of control remaining.
Given the number of teams interested, it might cost a mid-level prospect and a rookie level lottery ticket to acquire Smith in a trade. The Giants don’t want to trade Smith away, however, and that could mean they have a high asking price on him. But if they’re actually going to take a step back like they should, they have no need for a dominant lefty setup man.
Are The Brewers Interested?
There has not been any confirmed interest, but GM David Stearns is known to leave no stone unturned in his search for offseason upgrades. Although Stearns was the one who traded him away in 2016, there’s no reason to not reacquire him.
Stearns also traded away Jeremy Jeffress that summer, and then reacquired him a year later. That’s worked out pretty well so far. Jeffress and Smith are also best friends, and reuniting the two would be amazing not only for the fans, but for the clubhouse as well.
With the need for a left-handed reliever, getting a successful one like Smith who enjoyed being in Milwaukee would be a solid move.
A bullpen with Jeffress, Josh Hader, Corey Knebel, and Will Smith be even stronger than the group they had last season. By fortifying their strength in that bullpen, the Milwaukee Brewers will have a strong chance to repeat as NL Central Division champions.
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For the Brewers, putting in a call for Smith can’t hurt. And if the price is right, bringing back a fan favorite who is still a good pitcher isn’t a bad idea.