John Smoltz puts his odds of pitching again at 50-1

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Smoltz Braves.jpgJeff Shultz of the AJC spoke with John Smoltz today to see if he’s retiring or not.  Smoltz wouldn’t use the word, but placed his odds of pitching again at 50-1 and said “My desire to work out every day is still there.  But my desire to throw 50 to 70 times a day isn’t.” So yeah, I’d say he’s done.

While he’s probably my least favorite of the Braves’ Big Three, and certainly wasn’t the best, there’s an argument that John Smoltz was the most important in many ways.  He was traded to the Braves by the Tigers just after my allegiances had shifted from the Braves to the Tigers in 1987, so he’s obviously an important figure in my fandom as well.  Still, I don’t think I’ve yet worked out all my feelings about John Smoltz yet — his retirement, such as it is, was a bit less anticipated than Glavine’s or Maddux’s — so I’ll save the career eulogy for a spell while I think on it.

Short version: yes, Hall of Famer, but that’s not terribly interesting to me.  I’m more interested in what he meant to the Braves and their fans. What he represented in that tenuous way players can represent anything.  I’ll dive into it more when I gather my thoughts.

Giants making Brandon Belt available

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Giants have made first baseman Brandon Belt available in a trade and says that several teams have expressed interest in him.

Which is kind of weird, really.

Belt turns 31 early next season. He hit .253/.342/.414 with 14 homers over 112 games last year due to a knee injury and time lost to an appendectomy. He has a history of concussions and has averaged only 115 games over the last five seasons. Oh, and makes $48 million over the next three years.

Yes, he could be a very useful player if healthy, but taking on that kind of money, even a part of that money, when many very affordable first base/DH options are out there on the market makes little sense to me. Matt Adams. Justin Bour. Lucas Duda. As good as Belt? No, I don’t think so. But way cheaper and requiring less of a commitment.

But hey, rumors are rumors. Let a thousand flowers bloom.