Giants reliever Will Smith could be the hottest name on the market before the July 31 MLB trade deadline, and one team reportedly has lone had their eyes on the left-hander.
San Francisco and St. Louis were "engaged in serious discussions" during the offseason regarding a Smith trade, MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Thursday. The Cardinals will again pursue the reliever before the deadline, according to Morosi, if they remain in contention.
At the All-Star break, the Cardinals are 44-44, good for third in National League Central, but only two games behind the first-place Cubs. They're also two games behind the Phillies for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Smith seems like a perfect fit for the Cardinals, too. St. Louis lost closer Jordan Hicks when he tore his right UCL late last month, and Smith is a perfect 23-for-23 in save opportunities for the Giants this season. While starter-turned-reliever Carlos Martinez has three saves and a 1.38 ERA since becoming the Cardinals' closer, they badly still need a lefty.
The Cardinals signed Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million contract this past offseason. At the time, it seemed like a steal of a signing. That hasn't been the case, however, as Miller is just 3-3 with a 3.81 ERA over 39 appearances this season.
Smith, on the other hand, is 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA. Left-handed hitters are batting a lowly .176 against him with a .265 slugging percentage.
The Cardinals have plenty of intriguing young outfielders that could fit the Giants, and Smith clearly fits a glaring hole on the Red Birds' roster. This is a pairing to watch in the coming weeks.