With the before-deadline trades complete, St. Louis had their needs narrowed down to right-handed relief help and a fifth starter. Smoltz may take care of one, if not both of those.
Smoltz, the all-time leader in postseason wins (15) and eight-time all star, signed with the Cardinals to play for the remainder of the season.
The agreement involves the Cards paying the league minimum ($400,000) and the Red Sox paying the remaining balance of Smoltz’s current contract ($5.5 million).
Smoltz will likely assume the role of the Cardinals fifth starter, and possibly make a move to the bullpen if (more like when) the club heads to the playoffs.
The right-hander will likely start in the upcoming Padres series, but would he be better in the setup role?
In his first time through the lineup when starting, the opponent is hitting .230. In his third time through the lineup, the opponent is hitting over .400. That is remarkable. Is it crazy to think he would be better with a one-inning gig?
Unfortunately, Smoltz wanted out of Boston because they wanted him in the bullpen. If he said no to them, why would he say yes to us?
Hopefully Dave Duncan can work some more magic on Smoltzy to where he is an effective starter (five innings and three runs are fine) and can help us in the playoffs. John obviously knows what to do when the bright lights of the postseason on upon him.
The way this is playing out, expect Smoltz to be a starter for the Cards in the remaining games of the season. However, in the playoffs when you only need 3-4 starters, a bullpen role may be issued.
- Jay -