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Smoltz hoping to remain in St. Louis

John Smoltz finished his season on a high note while the Cardinals were being swept out of the playoffs, striking out five consecutive hitters in two innings of relief Saturday. Afterward the 42-year-old impending free agent made it clear that he’d like to re-sign with the Cardinals, saying: “This would be a great fit. This would be a scenario that wouldn’t take too many minutes to make a decision.” Given his age, injury history, and struggles with Boston earlier this season Smoltz obviously represents a substantial risk, but he certainly showed that he’s still capable of getting big-league hitters out after returning to the NL. Between seven regular-season starts and Saturday’s postseason relief appearance Smoltz posted a 4.28 ERA and 45/9 K/BB ratio in 40 innings with the Cardinals. Even including his time with Boston in the mix Smoltz had a 78/18 K/BB ratio in 80 total innings this season, which should be enough to earn him an incentive-laden one-year contract. Of course, assuming that another stint in the AL is out of the picture and a return to Atlanta is unlikely, Smoltz has just 14 teams to negotiate with. St. Louis seems like a natural fit.