A Smoltz with any other team would not smell as sweet – or perform as well.

John Smoltz is apparently close to signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Smoltz, 42, put up a snowman+ ERA with the Red Sox this year, so most assume he’s done for. Ah, but they have not seen the redeeming power of the Cardinals.

John Smoltz is “strongly leaning” toward signing with the St. Louis Cardinals, two major league sources with direct knowledge of his negotiations told ESPN.com Tuesday night.

Smoltz has told friends he will decide on a team Wednesday, once his release waivers expire and he officially becomes a free agent. However, all indications were that he will choose the Cardinals over a group of pursuers that includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers.

The Cardinals would like Smoltz to pitch out of the bullpen as a set-up man for closer Ryan Franklin. And while Smoltz has told clubs he would prefer to start, he has apparently decided St. Louis is the best fit.

The 42-year-old right-hander’s preference is to pitch in the National League. And he is close with both Mark DeRosa and Adam Wainwright, two former Atlanta Braves teammates who are now with the Cardinals. Both have been actively recruiting Smoltz over the last few days. ESPN.

A healthy and effective Smoltz could really help the Cubs about now. Of course, with the Cubs, he’d be another BJ Ryan. With the Cardinals, he’ll be another BJ … well, something.

  • Cardfan

    It is done. Work that voodoo magic, baby…

    • Ace

      John Smoltz hits World-Series winning homer. I can see the headlines now, improbable though they may be.

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