The Boston Red Sox recently designated 42-year-old pitcher John Smoltz for assignment. Typically, with a veteran like Smoltz, this means the player will be traded or released within the next 10 days.
Buster Olney suggests that the Cubs, among other teams, will be kicking the tires on Smoltz for a spot in the bullpen. Of course, Smoltz is making a lot of money for a guy with an ERA north of eight.
The interest from National League teams is likely conditional, given the fact that Smoltz posted an 8.32 ERA for the Red Sox and allowed eight homers in his final 15 innings. It is highly unlikely that any NL team would be willing to take Smoltz in a trade without some financial adjustment from the Red Sox, perhaps with Boston kicking in money to pay off a large portion of his base salary and roster bonus. Interested teams could also gamble and wait for Boston to simply release Smoltz, and sign him for the prorated minimum.
Smoltz hasn’t been a reliever in five years, but is just one year removed from being a very successful starter.
Smoltz’s velocity is still good this year, his K-rate, and his BB-rate are both acceptable. He’s just getting hit like whoa. Perhaps if he heads back to the pen and starts letting it all loose, he’ll get it back. Though even with the Cubs’ late-inning troubles, it’s hard to imagine Smoltz transitioning teams and roles quickly and effectively enough to make a difference in the Cubs’ pen.
Even if the Cubs want to make a move for Smoltz, because we are now in the waiver period for trades, every team in the American League would have to pass on him, and then every team in the National League with a worse record than the Cubs would have to pass on him before the Cubs would get a bite.