Now that the Cubs have signed Craig Kimbrel and gotten him up and running in the bullpen, the majority of the trade chatter has revolved around an addition to the lineup – be it in the outfield or potentially at second base. But there’s one other area of obvious need, and it’s something we’ve discussed quite a bit already: left-handed relief options.
Right now, the backend of the Cubs bullpen is finally taking shape (with Kimbrel, Pedro Strop, and Steve Cishek more or less locking down the 7th, 8th, and 9th), but the left-handed relief options leave much to be desired. And that’s why the availability of lefty Will Smith from the last-place San Francisco Giants has been an area of special interest for the Cubs – er, well, at least fans like us clamoring for a trade. Unfortunately – but expectedly – the Cubs are not alone in that pursuit.
According to sources close to The Athletic, the Milwaukee Brewers “are ‘engaged’ in discussions with the Giants about left-handed reliever Will Smith.” Moreover, both teams are apparently scouting each other right now, and a Giants representative even went to Cincinnati to watch the Brewers on their most recent road trip. No deal is imminent according to The Athletic, but I think we can say this is fairly serious with some degree of certainty.
And I mean that in more ways than one.
While it’s entirely possible that much of the Brewers interest in Smith is driven by the desire to up the asking price on the Cubs, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge. The Brewers bullpen has been among the bottom-five in the National League against left-handed hitting this season and could clearly use a guy like Smith to address that concern. And, as we saw last year, that organization is very comfortable riding their bullpen all the way into the postseason. In other words, this would be a very Brewers move.
And as if this weren’t enough smoke, it sure sounds like names have already been tossed around: “In trade talks, the Giants have identified shortstop Mauricio Dubon as a player of interest, sources say. It is highly unlikely the Brewers will part with prized second-base prospect Keston Hiura. And with Hiura and Orlando Arcia seemingly implanted long term in the Brewers middle infield, that makes Dubon expendable.” Woof. And to really twist the knife, Smith, who once played in Milwaukee, even mentioned he enjoyed his time there and playing for Craig Counsell, specifically.
So, yes, I’d say this is far more than up-bidding the Cubs. The Brewers are legitimately interested in Smith and could already be moving towards making a deal happen.