Chicago Cubs Rumors: Veteran Will Smith could be a solid bullpen fit

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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It would not be a bad idea for the Chicago Cubs to keep adding some pitching depth, and there are some notable arms still available. One of those arms includes veteran lefty Will Smith.

Smith, 33, spent last season with the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros. Between the two teams, he pitched to a 3.97 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 1.4 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, and 3.8 BB/9 in 59 innings. It is worth noting that after he was dealt from the Braves to the Astros, he pitched to a 3.27 ERA, 2.66 FIP, and 1.2 WHIP in 22 innings. He sports a 3.59 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.24 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 553.2 innings over the course of his career.

One of the nice things Smith brings is the ability to miss bats. He averages 85 strikeouts in 71 innings per 162 games. In 2022 he was in the 84th percentile (out of 100) in Whiff% and the 97th percentile in Chase Rate. He does not throw a hard fastball, it sits around 92 MPH these days, but his slider has been a very effective pitch for him. It is far and away the best pitch he throws.

One of the drawbacks of Smith's game is he will walk a fair share of batters. He is also coming off a year in which he surrendered 58 hits, the most he's surrendered in a season since 2014. The combination of walks and hits in 2022 was evident by the 1.4 WHIP. His BABIP (Batting Average Balls In Play) against was .306 while being in the 66th percentile in xBA (expected batting average). The BABIP was over .300 for the first time since 2014 and they had some tough luck with balls in play at times.

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The Cubs have had a knack for bringing in veteran bullpen arms and getting really good production out of them. This is a reason why pursuing pitchers like this often makes sense.

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