3 remaining lefty-reliever Chicago Cubs targets ahead of Spring Training
3 best remaining lefty-reliever targets ahead of Spring Training - Will Smith
Will Smith is another, like Hand, who only recorded five saves in 2022 but has plenty of experience closing games in the past. Most notably, he recorded 34 in 2019 and another 37 in 2021. He had a great span from 2015-2019, with a collective 2.80 ERA, 2.72 FIP, and 145 ERA+. Though he struggled with Atlanta in the first half of 2022 with a mark of 4.38, he quickly got it together when he was shipped to Houston at the deadline, recording a 3.27 ERA and 2.66 FIP with the Astros in 24 appearances and 22 innings of work.
The Astros unsurprisingly declined Smith's 13.0M club option for 2023. Unlike Hand, however, Smith is coming off an overall down year after earning a 3.97 ERA, his worst mark over an entire 162-game season (COVID year excluded) since his debut in 2012. Therefore, knowing Hand's price will be up, likely closer to the 8-10.0M range, and the unknowns of Britton, who wants 9.0M, Smith may be the best and cheapest option for the Cubs to take a chance on. One thing is for sure: the Cubs need to land one of these guys. In doing so, they have a respectably strong bullpen heading into 2023.