Atlanta Braves beat writer Dave O’Brien joined Dukes & Bell Monday and talked about who will be the team’s closer heading into the season?
“Right now it’s going to be Will Smith as the primary guy," said O'Brien. "They also tried to get Trevor Rosenthal, but he ended up getting that deal with Oakland with a lot of deferred money on it. The Braves wanted to do a two-year, back-loaded deal with him and it wasn’t as good as the offer Oakland made him, so they tried to get Rosenthal and he would have been the closer.”
Smith compiled a 4.50 ERA last season in 18 games, striking out 18 batters in 16 innings of work. In 2019 Smith was an All-Star with the San Francisco Giants. He threw 65 1/3 innings with a 2.76 ERA and 96 strikeouts. He saves 34 games that season.
“They’re not going to have any hesitation to make Will Smith the closer even though he gave up a ton of home runs last year," said O'Brien. "This guy was an All-Star the year before that with San Francisco when he was the primary closer. When he didn’t miss summer camp due to Covid. But the good thing is if he were to struggle and he didn’t have it again coming out of the gate and gave up a home run in each of his first three appearances they do have other options.”