Braves Signing Will Smith Doesn’t Move The Needle

The Atlanta Braves should get credit for acting swiftly and signing closer Will Smith before he accepted the qualifying offer from the San Francisco Giants. Even with the team winning the National League East by a healthy margin, they really needed to upgrade their bullpen, and Smith was the best reliever available.

They thought they did just that by obtaining Shane Greene at the trade deadline, but with he proved to not be the solution. Still, through it all, believe it or not, the Braves bullpen was not as bad as people believed it to be.

In 2019, the Braves 4.21 bullpen ERA was the 11th best in baseball. Their 22 blown saves were tied for the ninth fewest in the majors. Looking at those numbers, you can see they weren’t a good bullpen. That is further exemplified by their 4.49 FIP (ranked 15th), and their 1.388 WHIP, which was 11th worst.

Having Smith in the bullpen is going to make that bullpen better. However, it should be noted that even with the struggles that bullpen had, they didn’t hold back a 96 win team. If anything, obtaining Smith should help the Braves tread water from their having some of the fewest blown saves in the game. With Smith, they’ll probably be better, but probably not much better.

The real issue for the Braves going forward isn’t going to be about holding onto leads. No, their real issue is getting them.

The Braves had a major hole to address at third base with Josh Donaldson being a free agent. Last year, he hit .259/.379/.521 with 33 doubles, 37 homers, and 94 RBI. Even on a team with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman, his 6.1 WAR led the team. His 15 DRS made him the best defensive third baseman in the National League.

Signing Smith is not going to do anything to offset potentially losing Donaldson on the free agent market. Depending on what happens in the rest of the division, the Braves may not be able to get away with just signing a Mike Moustakas or Todd Frazier. No, they need a real difference maker.

On that note, the team also needs to upgrade its catching position, especially with them losing Brian McCann to retirement. On that front, Yasmani Grandal is just about the only catcher who could offset the loss of Donaldson, but whether the Braves have an appetite to go in that direction remains to be seen.

Ultimately, the Braves can be either a significantly improved team from their 96 win team. They can also be significantly worse. All we know is Smith is not moving the needle in either direction at the moment. To that end, no Mets fan should be up in arms over the Braves getting him, especially with some very good relievers remaining on the free agent market.

No, the time for Mets fans to react is when there are other very significant players sign, including but not limited to, Zack Wheeler signing.



10 thoughts on “Braves Signing Will Smith Doesn’t Move The Needle”

  1. oldbackstop says:

    Whatever. You are ignoring the fact that it is very possible Beltran is looking at a suspension.

    Here is what the NY Post said about Beltran’s upcoming interviews with MLB:

    “”Major League Baseball has begun an investigation into the matter and will interview Beltran, a source confirmed. Now that he is part of club management, Beltran can be disciplined by baseball, be it a suspension, fine or any other penalty, for actions he committed as a player. Any punishment will be determined as much by — if not more so than — how forthcoming and forthright Beltran proves to be in his session with baseball’s department of investigations as his actual 2017 transgressions. If Beltran triples down on the comments he has made publicly and convincing contrary evidence surfaces, a suspension would become likely.””

    It is important to remember here that The Athletic is a well regarded media outlet now. They ran with this, saying Beltran was a ringleader. Beltran is going to be shown the cliff, and he has run his mouth.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Beltran may or may not be facing any discipline. At this moment, there has been NOTHING specified as to what his level of involvement might’ve been.

      I’d also note it’s beyond absurd the only named linked are people who have taken manager jobs with other organizations. It’s too convenient, especially with the level of technology involved.

      1. Oldbackstop says:

        If such a system was in place…. centerfield internal TV monitor, specifically banned two years ago by Manafort …. and a banging from the dugout….there is no way Beltran… a DH hanging around the dugout the whole game and an admitted sign stealing junkie….didn’t know. No way. And he has now repeatedly says he didn’t.

        This is going to be like the Cards coke deal with Hernandez. Pressure is going to be brought until people crack. If you narc on your teammates, they will have to find a way to move you off the team… can’t have that in the clubhouse.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          No one is claiming he didn’t know about it. The entire team knew.

          That’s a completely different set of circumstances than the claims he was some sort of mastermind.

          1. Oldbackstop says:

            It won’t to the MLB. I mean, even know he cant stop talking about how much he loves sign stealing.

            You want pin an error on Brodie? Sticking with Beltran through this would be the huge one. Tell Wright the franchise need him, he can be our manager for 40 years.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Your hatred of Beltran has a unsettling twinge especially when viewed in light of you now wanting Wright.

          3. Oldbackstop says:

            Unsettling twinge….oh! I must be racist?

            Is it incompatible for me to be a racist yet still genuinely feel Beltran is looming as a disaster?

          4. metsdaddy says:

            Your last statement is an oxymoron

          5. Oldbackstop says:

            “My last statement” was a question, not a statement. And you were doing so well…

          6. metsdaddy says:

            It’s an oxymoron

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