Throughout the 2016 season, and into the postseason, the San Francisco Giants had a glaring flaw: an unreliable bullpen. In the end, that flaw drove them to an early exit from the playoffs, though the Giants put up a good fight against the Chicago Cubs. Over the offseason, San Francisco moved to address that weakness, bringing in closer Mark Melancon to work with setup man Will Smith, who came over in a trade from the Milwaukee Brewers last season. With that combination, and much of the same team from last year intact, the Giants looked primed for a strong season. On Friday, however, those hopes suffered a major blow.
Will Smith will undergo Tommy John next week in LA with Dr. ElAttrache. Ruled out alternatives because he wants to be ready for 2018.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) March 24, 2017
Will Smith to have Tommy John Surgery
Smith, 27, was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament a couple days ago, and flew to San Francisco from the Giants Srping Training home in Arizona to meet with the team’s orthopedist. It was determined that rest and rehabilitation would not suffice, and Smith opted for surgery. He will miss the entire season, and now sets his sights on 2018. He becomes eligible for arbitration next season.
The lefty has spent five seasons in the majors, first with the Kansas City Royals and then the Brewers, before joining the Giants. He owns a respectable 3.35 career ERA, and looked to be entering his prime. He put up his best numbers in 2015, pitching to a 2.70 ERA and notching a whopping 91 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.
For the first half of last season, he seemed to be regressing. He allowed nine earned runs in 22 innings, for a 3.68 ERA, before being traded to the Giants. Once he arrived in the Bay Area, however, he found his groove. In 18.1 innings, he struck out 26 opponents and worked his way to a 2.95 ERA. He does have his issues with walks, but the punchouts tend to make up for that. The Giants will surely miss his presence in the bullpen this season.