As the July 31 trade deadline approaches, the St. Louis Cardinals reportedly have interest in landing one of the top relievers on the market, San Francisco Giants closer Will Smith.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Cardinals have a renewed interest in the All-Star closer after engaging in discussions earlier this year.
“The Cardinals and Giants engaged in serious discussions about a trade involving Smith during the offseason, sources say, and St. Louis is poised to pursue the reliever again — as long as the Cardinals remain solidly in contention at the end of the month.”
The St. Louis’ bullpen has held up quite well coming out of the All-Star Break. It’s 3.86 ERA is the fourth best in baseball while the 1.15 WHIP is the best in the league.
With that said, it’s impossible to have too many good relievers and Smith would make any bullpen in baseball better. He’s a perfect 23-for-23 in save opportunities and has a 1.98 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 53 strikeouts in 36.1 innings.
While the Cardinals didn’t have a particularly strong first half at 44-44, they’re only two back of the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
Given the state of limbo that St. Louis is in, it makes sense that the Cards would want to wait to see if their buyer/seller status becomes more clear by the deadline. By that time, though, the Giants, who are clearly going to be sellers, might have already dealt Smith.
While he is a rental as a pending free agent, Smith will be in high demand as a lefty who can both get right handers out and close games. Other contenders, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers, have all expressed interested in Smith per Morosi’s report..