John Smoltz: Baseball's Version of Brett Favre?

Bare KnucksAnalyst IAugust 20, 2009

10 Oct 2001:  Closing pitcher John Smoltz #29 of the Atlanta Braves pumps his fist after finishing off the Houston Astros for a 1-0 win during Game 2 of their National League Division Series at Enron Field in Houston, Texas. The Braves won 1-0.   DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Brian Bahr/ALLSPORT

John Smoltz has reportedly signed a deal Wednesday that will make him a part of the St. Louis Cardinals’. Whether he’ll take over the 5th spot in the rotation or work out of the bullpen remains to be seen, although he vehemently opposed appearing out of the ’pen in Boston, so it’s safe to assume it won’t be the latter.

Maybe it has gone unnoticed because this guy isn’t an egotistical joke like his NFL counterpart Favre, but Smoltz is similar to the Vikings’ new QB in the fact that he can’t seem to comprehend what it means to be unable to perform to the ability that he once could. Like Favre, who holds numerous prolific passing records in the NFL, Smoltz is a guaranteed Hall of Fame inductee as soon as both decide to retire.

The only question is when, if ever, will that happen?

Both are certainly in the decline of their respective careers and both have an undeniable passion for their profession. However neither seems to have the ability to simply let it go. I can certainly understand one’s desire to continue being a part of the sport that they love, however when you’re no longer having a positive impact on your club, you need to recognize that.

The Boston Red Sox’s front office has recently found success in acquiring “low risk/high reward” type players. Roster additions such as Takashi Saito and Brad Penny have been solid contributors for the Sox this season, but the same approach in signing John Smoltz may have done more harm than good. In his eight starts with Boston this season Smoltz went 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA and averaged just five innings per start. Smoltz’s negative impact with the Red Sox went beyond the box score. With averaging so few innings per start, he depleted the bullpen on not only the games in which he pitched, but the games that followed. Also, his spot in the rotation forced 25 year old Clay Buchholz to stay in Pawtucket (Red Sox’s AAA affiliate). With Buchholz’s recent string of quality starts, most recently out dueling Cy Young favorite Roy Halladay (in Toronto nonetheless), it’s tough for Boston fans knowing that all those Smoltz starts could have been given to Buchholz. [READ MORE...]