September 26, 2021

The Braves and Will Smith Agree on Three-Year Contract (FanGraphs)

Up against a deadline to either accept or refuse San Francisco’s qualifying offer, free agent reliever Will Smith signed a three-year, $40 million pact with the Atlanta Braves. Smith’s deal with Atlanta will pay him $13 million in each of the next three seasons, with the Braves retaining a club option for either a fourth season at $13 million or a $1 million buyout.

Now two seasons into his return from Tommy John surgery, Smith’s 2.66 ERA and 2.71 FIP to along with 3.2 WAR in 118 and a third innings in 2018-2019 firmly established him as the best free agent reliever available this winter. While on paper Aroldis Chapman electing to stay with the Yankees could have established a better negotiating environment for Smith, teams just aren’t in love with closers the way they were 10 or 15 years ago. Being in the next tier of relievers down from his fellow left-hander, and with the loss of a draft pick attached, Smith was unlikely to do much better; his deal exceeds Kiley McDaniel’s three year and $36 million estimate as part of our Top 50 Free Agents list, as well as the crowd’s median projection of three years and $30 million.

The Braves entered 2019 as a serious…

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