Giants reliever Will Smith could be the hottest name on the market before the July 31 MLB trade deadline, and one team reportedly has had their eyes on the left-hander.
San Francisco and St. Louis were "engaged in serious discussions" during the offseason regarding a Smith trade, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Thursday. The Cardinals will again pursue the reliever before the deadline, according to Morosi, if they remain in contention.
At the All-Star break, the Cardinals are 44-44, good for third in NL Central, but only two games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs. They're also two games behind the Phillies for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Smith seems like a perfect fit for the Cardinals, too. St. Louis lost closer Jordan Hicks when he tore his right UCL late last month, and Smith is a perfect 23-for-23 in save opportunities for the Giants this season. While starter-turned-reliever Carlos Martinez has three saves and a 1.38 ERA since becoming the Cardinals' closer, they badly still need a lefty.
The Cardinals signed Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million contract this past offseason. At the time, it seemed like a steal. That hasn't been the case, however, as Miller is just 3-3 with a 3.81 ERA over 39 appearances this season.
Smith, on the other hand, is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA. Left-handed hitters are batting a lowly .176 against him with a .265 slugging percentage.
The Cardinals have plenty of intriguing young outfielders who could fit the Giants, and Smith clearly fits a glaring hole on the Red Birds' roster. This is a pairing to watch in the coming weeks.