The 6’5” left-hander has been a positive in a bleak period for the San Francisco Giants, posting a 0.98 WHIP in 2018 and a 0.80 mark so far in 2019. Heading to free agency this winter, Smith is one of the premier trade chips as we approach into the summer months.
Every contender (well, pretty much) will consider adding a bullpen arm or two. Others might need more than that and could give Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi a call sooner rather than later.
The trade market has changed in recent years. Teams are wary of giving up any prospects, let alone those who could be in the upper echelon of the top 100. The Giants aren’t going to get a Gleyber Torres level prospect for Smith, but his market will certainly be big and Zaidi will hope to see a bidding war between contenders.
Here are a few teams who will likely be giving the Giants a call before the end of the month…
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers and Giants don’t make trades all that often. They have only completed three trades since 1958, with the most recent coming in 2007.
San Francisco are rebuilding and the Dodgers are heading for yet another playoff run; they are a good fit. Contenders like the Dodgers can always justify a new reliever, and the Los Angeles bullpen is far from flawless.
The top three Dodgers prospects will be off limit in any rental deal. The Giants may well ask for the Dodgers’ own Will Smith, but could have to settle for quantity rather than quality, perhaps built around middle infielder Jeter Downs.
Led by Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly, the Astros bullpen is one of the best in the Major Leagues. As we saw with the Justin Verlander trade, though, Houston will be proactive in the trade market and have the farm to easily get a deal done for Smith.
While Osuna, Pressly and Will Harris are all having excellent years, depth is a slight concern in the Houston bullpen and they don’t have a premier left-hander. There’s arguably no lefty reliever better than Smith in all of MLB right now – it’s an obvious fit.
Whether the Philadelphia Phillies should be buying or not is up for debate. At the time of writing, they’re still well in the race for a postseason berth, however, and it would be a shock if they didn’t look to make additions before the end of the month.
With Juan Nicasio, Seranthony Dominguez, Pat Neshek and David Robertson all currently on the injured list, Philadelphia might look to add a reliever before the deadline (though they could do with a couple of starters, too). Smith is set to be the best bullpen arm on the market.
Outfielder Adam Haseley would be of interest to the Giants, but that’s a high price to pay for a rental when you’re in the Phillies’ position. Former first overall pick Mickey Moniak could be a good upside option for the Giants if the Phillies give Zaidi a call.