Having been released on Monday, John Smoltz is available for whoever wants him. Just don’t count on the Braves being in that mix.
“With the anticipated addition of Tim Hudson in the near future we have not pursued John Smoltz,” Wren said in an e-mail on Monday.
This is hardly surprising, given the acrimonious parting of the two sides in the spring.
But even if the breakup had been the friendliest in the history of breakups, the Braves simply don’t need him. Only the Giants (3.51) and Dodgers (3.62) have better team ERAs than Atlanta (3.68). And even before the return of Hudson, their rotation is stacked with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, Javier Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens and a serviceable Kenshin Kawakami.
Atlanta’s closer situation has been an adventure, certainly, but it seems doubtful Smoltz could make it any better at this point.
And of course we already know how our resident Braves fan feels about it.
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.