It wasn’t so long ago that I was haaaard on the Will Smith bandwagon. If I were lame as all get-out, I might say that I was extremely jiggy with the idea of the Cubs picking up the Giants impact lefty. So, time was, if I heard that the Giants still might trade Smith – as Ken Rosenthal mentions this morning – I’d be pretty excited.
But after a long stretch of malaise, including now nine consecutive road series without a series win, I am far less inclined to think Smith is the right move for the Cubs.
Well, a huge part of the value in acquiring an elite, impact, rental reliever is what he can do for you in the postseason, when reliever value becomes so disproportionately huge. You can deploy these guys so aggressively and shrink the game. That’s good, though, right?! Why wouldn’t you want that, Brett?!?! Are you already brain-depleted just two hours into the Blogathon?
Nah, nah. I’m saying: yes, of course you’d still want that guy. He’d help in the regular season, too. Instead, I’m saying that the price tag on these types of guys is so very high precisely *because* of that extra postseason value, and teams that already know – or have a much stronger reason to suspect – they are going to a divisional series can and should pay a lot more.
For the Cubs, who are staring down a fight for the division or maybe another Wild Card berth, it’s harder to justify giving up a top prospect (potentially even someone in the top four) for Smith at this time. Still want him? Of course. Gonna outbid all other suitors – and make it worth the Giants’ while, since they, too, are fighting for a Wild Card spot? Just not sure that’s the right approach.
Smith would increase the Cubs’ chances of taking the division some. Of course. But probably not enough, on his own, to make the price tag justifiable.