Giants

MLB free agency: Will Smith signs three-year, $39M Braves contract

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MLB free agency: Will Smith signs three-year, $39M Braves contract

Will Smith is going home. 

The former Giants closer signed a three-year, $39 million contract to join the Braves on Thursday. 

The Georgia native made his first All-Star Game last season with the Giants. He finished 2019 with a perfect 6-0 record, 2.76 ERA and had 34 saves. 

San Francisco acquired Smith from the Brewers on Aug. 1, 2016, right before the MLB trade deadline. The Giants sent former top prospect Phil Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac to Milwaukee, which proved to be a steal of a trade for San Francisco. 

Smith went 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA to finish the 2016 season for the Giants, but then underwent Tommy John surgery the next spring and missed the entire 2017 season. 

The left-hander was stellar in 2018, going 2-3 with a 2.55 ERA and was even better this past season. Smith nearly was automatic on the mound for the Giants and had 96 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings. 

The Giants handed Smith a $17.8 million qualifying offer going into this offseason that would have kept him in San Francisco for the 2020 season. He signed a multi-year deal with the Braves instead, and the Giants now will receive an extra draft pick next June.

[RELATED: How Smith signing with Braves affects Giants' bullpen]

Smith's tenure in San Francisco certainly was a success, but the Giants now have to find a new closer for next season.

Giants' Larry Baer believes Arizona might be best spot for MLB season

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Giants' Larry Baer believes Arizona might be best spot for MLB season

It remains to be seen when, or even if, the 2020 MLB season will happen.

Coronavirus continues to leave the season suspended indefinitely, as MLB stadiums remain devoid of all typical spring activities.

One idea that has been thrown out is the league holding a shortened version of the season in a neutral location, like team spring training hubs in Florida and Arizona.

“I think we’ve got to look at the path that presents the best public health option,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said Friday on KNBR. “Arizona might be a better possibility because you could get 30 teams there in more approximate distancing, meaning that everybody would not be a four or five-hour drive from one ballpark to another.”

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All of Arizona’s Cactus League spring training stadiums are within the same county (Maricopa), while Florida’s Grapefruit League stadiums stretch all across the expansive state, with some being hundreds of miles apart.

[RELATED: Takeaways from Giants' sim opener on MLB The Show]

Baer emphasized that many scenarios have been thrown out around the league, but that the safety of all those involved with the game should take precedent.

“That’s one idea, there are other ideas out there,” Baer said. “I just think we’ve got to chase down every possible idea to return baseball, but only when it’s safe and only when [there is] public health clearance.”

Joey Bart-Buster Posey comparisons legit, ex-Giants GM Bobby Evans says

Joey Bart-Buster Posey comparisons legit, ex-Giants GM Bobby Evans says

Back in 2008, the Giants selected a franchise-altering player in the first-round of the MLB draft.

Ten years later, the Giants drafted Joey Bart at No. 2 overall, hoping he would have the same impact that Buster Posey had on the franchise over the last decade.

Before he was fired as general manager in Sept. 2018, Bobby Evans was responsible for drafting Bart. What did Evans and the Giants see in the Georgia Tech star? The former long-time Giants executive was asked that during an interview on KNBR 680 on Friday.

"He's just so far advanced, for us, looking at him at Georgia Tech and we had a chance to track him throughout his time there," Evans said. "Our scout covering Georgia Tech at the time played at Georgia Tech and had a good inside track as to who Joey was. But he was able to see, this was a guy in college that is calling his own game, he takes as much pride in what he's doing behind the plate as he does with the bat. He's a smart, smart hitter. He's at Georgia Tech for a reason because he's a smart guy to begin with, but he's a smart hitter.

"The challenge he'll have as he advances is, he's got right-center field power which he'll have to continue to work on at [Oracle Park] and other places. But the power is real and it's raw and you've got a lot to look forward to in Joey."

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Ever since he was drafted, Bart has been seen as the heir apparent to Posey, and Evans gave credence to the comparisons.

"The flashes of Buster Posey are not lost on us, because there's so much common ground there, really starting with the character of the player," Evans said.

Bart finished the 2019 season at Double-A and was expected to begin the 2020 season at Triple-A before the global coronavirus pandemic stopped everything.

[RELATED: Why Bart was reassigned in camp]

Once baseball does begin, Giants fans everywhere will be keeping an on Bart's every move, hoping they soon will see him at Oracle Park in San Francisco.