The Milwaukee Brewers had to face San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith this weekend, but could Smith return to Milwaukee? A deadline deal between the two teams could make a lot of sense.
It’s shaping up to be another active trade deadline season for the Milwaukee Brewers. They need help at the very top of their starting rotation, but they could also add to their bullpen.
Last year, they were able to roll with a three-headed monster of Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, and Corey Knebel in September and October. Knebel is out for the year after elbow surgery, and the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen has been stretched. Hader is still dominant, but Jeffress missed time due to injury, and the rest of the bullpen hasn’t been quite as effective as it was last year.
The Brewers could stand to add another reliever, especially one from the left side. San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith will reach free agency after the 2019 season, and could end up on a new team in the next month or so. Should the Brewers make Smith a target?
How is Smith doing in 2019?
He’s doing really well. In 29 games with the Giants in 2019, Smith has a 2.20 ERA with 18 saves. He’s worked 28 2/3 innings, and has 42 strikeouts and only seven walks allowed. He’s also allowed three homers.
Didn’t Smith play in Milwaukee?
He did! He spent 2014 through most of 2016 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was traded to the Giants at the trade deadline in 2016. The Brewers flipped him for catcher Andrew Susac and right-hander Phil Bickford. Susac made a few appearances for the Brewers in 2016 and 2017, but Bickford has never made it past High-A due to injuries.
How tough will a deal for Smith be?
It won’t be as bad as dealing for Madison Bumgarner, but Smith won’t come cheap. The Milwaukee Brewers still have a surplus of outfielders they can send to the Giants, and the Giants could use help there. A resurgent Trent Grisham plus extras or Corey Ray should be more than enough to get the Giants to part with Smith.
Ray and Grisham are great prospects, but don’t have much upward mobility in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. Unless there’s a long term injury to one of the Brewers every day outfielders, the young outfielders will have to wait until there’s an opening. That could happen after the 2020 season when Ryan Braun‘s contract expires, or it might not happen if the Brewers acquire another Major League-caliber outfielder. The team is better off flipping blocked prospects for assets that can help for the stretch run. Smith is absolutely on the team’s radar, and they appear to have the assets to get the deal done.