Braves Jump the Market and Sign Lefty Will Smith to $40 Million Deal

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Braves Jump the Market and Sign Lefty Will Smith to $40 Million Deal

Chicago Cubs

The Braves aren’t messing around, making the first super-early, very healthy free agent signing we’ve seen in a long time.

That sounds about right, purely on the price tag, for an elite reliever in a class without any others. It’s a lot, but Smith has been really, really good.

But you’ll note that this signing comes on the doorstep of the qualifying offer deadline, which means the Braves do still wind up having to pay draft pick compensation – though it’s only a third rounder for them (for the Cubs, it would have been their second and fifth highest picks AND $1 million in IFA budget).

And it’s not a coincidence that he’s signing on qualifying offer decision day:

That is a good strategy for creating a deadline when that has been such a big issue the last couple years, though it necessarily meant his market would be slightly artificially depressed by the draft pick compensation (instead of taking the qualifying offer and betting on yourself to get at least $22 million over the two years following).

So there you go: the Braves make the first really big addition of the offseason.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.