Smoltz Signing May Prove To Be Best Of Off-Season
|01.13.09 at 7:40 pm ET|
John Smoltz was introduced as a member of the Red Sox this morning at Fenway Park. After twenty seasons, and parts of three decades in Atlanta, Smoltz is bringing his game to New England. In an off-season that could be described as relatively uneventful, this signing will prove to be Theo Epstein’s best.
In a city that cannot get enough of its baseball, there seems to be nothing fans admire more than a big-game player – see David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, and Josh Beckett. Smoltz epitomizes just that. His postseason stats speak for themselves. He is 15-4 with 4 saves and a 2.65 ERA is 40 games that really matter. He wants the ball all the time. His stuff is nasty, and his heart is even bigger.
Epstein has made numerous acquisitions this off-season that have been low risk, with a potential for a tremendous reward. The reward on Smoltz could prove to be the biggest. Smoltz is far ahead of schedule in his recovery from major right shoulder surgery. Epstein and Smoltz both say he could be ready in April if he had to be. Thankfully, Epstein lives by the “You can never have too much pitching” mentality and Smoltz won’t be used early on. He’ll be given ample time to fully recover. That way, when the Red Sox need him in the dog-days on summer and the postseason, he’ll be 100 percent.
As the only pitcher in Major League history to have over 200 wins and 150 saves, Smoltz could theoretically be used as a starter or reliever. Smartly, the plan is for him to be a starter in Boston. When healthy, the 41 year old is still a dominant force, as he’s thrown over 200 innings in three of the last four seasons. Oh yeah, and he’s also never given up an earned run in Fenway Park. Give me a postseason series with Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, and Smoltz starting games 1-4, and I’ll show you a World Series champion.
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