End of an Error: John Smoltz Officially Released

Joe HuberCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2009

NEW YORK - AUGUST 6:  Manager Terry Francona of the Boston Red Sox takes the ball from pitcher John Smoltz #29 as he takes him out of the game in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees on August 6, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 13-6.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty images)

I wasn't the least bit surprised that as I was searching for a photograph of John Smoltz, there were two or three of him handing the ball to Terry Francona.  

That's the kind of season he had in Bostonone you'd like to soon forget.

This isn't about Smoltz being terrible or awful or a bad person. He's not.  

He's still a major league pitcher, just not in the American League, and definitely not in the AL East.

When he signs on with a National League club on the major-league circuit, I have a feeling his numbers will improve. But his fastball is not going to work on Alex Rodriguez, and walking Carl Crawford is not acceptable.

His command is off right now, and his junk pitches are far from where they were even two years ago.

Smoltz's best days are behind him, and he knows that.

But there is also hope for the 42-year-old right-hander out of Michigan.

The Cubs are rumored to have made an inquiry to Smoltz and his agents, and really, no team is a better fit for him.

The Cubs are a young team that needs a closer, something John Smoltz knows a little about with 154 career saves. He would also bring his experience and professionalism to the table.

Read: Maybe he can help Carlos "Big (Cray-) Z" Zambrano settle into his own.

Smoltz might not end up on the Northside of Chicago, but if he does land with another MLB team, it will probably be in the National League.

Now settle down all you NL junkies who are starting to scream about how you have Albert Pujols and that it's "real" baseball because there is no DH. No matter how hard your allegiance lies with the NL, you can't dispute that it is tougher pitching in the American League, let alone in the explosive AL East.

He wasn't built for the Red Sox rotation anymore. Because in the AL East, you need either power or nasty junk, neither of which Smoltz posseses anymore.

Theo Epstein made a good gamble by throwing the $1 million contract his way, but it just wasn't meant to be.

Oh well, best of luck to you Johnny boy, wherever you may land.

And if Boston fans are lucky, it just might be Tampa Bay.