Smoltz refuses assignment to the minors

This is not terribly surprising:

John Smoltz’s brief career with the Red Sox is over. Smoltz has refused the option of an assignment to the minor leagues, leaving the Red Sox with the option of either trading him or releasing him.

They could trade him because he has cleared waivers, but one of the reasons he cleared waivers is because no one wants any part of that contract and all of its roster incentives, which I presume travels with him. I can’t really feature anyone giving anything of value for the guy, so I’m assuming that we’re going to see him released in the next couple of days.

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Comments

  1. jlive said...

    As I understand the contract (thanks to Cot’s Contracts, http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2004/12/boston-red-sox.html), Smoltz would be owed something like $1.7M for playing the rest of the regular season.  Given his K/9 and K/BB numbers this season, I think Smoltz is still a reasonable gamble.  More so if he could be convinced to move into the bullpen. 

    Incidentally, there is a really nice discussion of Smoltz over at Fangraphs, http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/john-smoltz-and-era, where the last comment points out Smoltz’s ridiculous platoon split this season:

    v. LHB: .440/.490/.758
    v. RHB: .232/.259/.390

    In 101 PAs against LHB, he’s given up 7 walks and 6 HR, striking out 12, whereas in 85 PAs against RHB, he’s given up 2 walks and 2 HR, striking out 21.  If he could figure out what’s going on against lefties, then forget the pen, he could still be a dominant starter.

    Anyway, I think there is lots more upside here than the 8+ ERA would lead one to believe, and I will not be surprised if some team makes a trade to get Smoltz.

  2. Randy said...

    I agree with jlive.

    As one who has watched him pitch this year, I find it odd that people resort to the “past his prime” label. The guy threw low-90s, had a decent slider and what looked like okay movement on his fastball. The reason he got lit up appeared to be more location than anything. There were lots of pitches up in the zone.

    Given that, wouldn’t it make sense that a guy who just had major surgery and is in a new league would need more of an adjustment period? And wouldn’t it make sense that if he had a normal spring training and then started the season he would be effective? I think his minor league rehabs weren’t enough.

    I also think getting picked up now is unlikely given the lateness in the season. What teams in a race would be willing to gamble that he would find his mechanics in the next 2-3 starts?

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