The Atlanta Braves have signed left-handed closer Will Smith to a three-year deal worth $40 million, according to the club. There is a 2023 club option for $13 million included as well.
This is an absolute stunner for the Braves.
Smith, who is 30 and was born in Newnan, Georgia, was the top reliever on the market this winter. He closed out 34 games for the Giants in 2019, posting a 2.76 ERA, 3.23 FIP and 2.73 xFIP with an absurd 13.22 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9. Smith broke into the Majors with the Brewers and saw his career take off with the Giants, ranking among the game’s top relievers over the past two seasons.
Smith was offered a qualifying offer by the Giants so the Braves will lose their third-highest draft pick, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
This is, obviously, a huge first move of the winter for the Braves. After adding Mark Melancon and Shane Greene at last year’s trade deadline it was believed those two would be the club’s primary late inning options in 2020, but Smith will absolutely be a factor and seems likely to be the team’s closer.
Ken Rosenthal weighed in with an interesting tidbit on negotiations:
Will Smith’s agent, Jeff Berry of CAA, effectively used the qualifying offer as leverage, telling interested teams he wanted a deal by today’s deadline or Smith would accept the one-year, $17.8M offer from #SFGiants. In the end, the #Braves bit.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 14, 2019
More to come. This was a real stunner.