Will Smith signs with Braves in MLB's first significant offseason move

Sep 15, 2019; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Will Smith (13) reacts after the final out of the game against the Miami Marlins at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves needed bullpen help. And Will Smith — the former San Francisco Giants reliever, not the Fresh Prince — was looking for a new home as the top-ranked closer on this offseason’s free-agent list.

That’s a perfect offseason match.

The Braves announced Thursday that they’d signed the 30-year-old Smith to a three-year deal with $39 million, with a club option for 2023 that would pay $13 million.

Neither Smith nor the Braves were waiting around. Smith was given a qualifying offer by the Giants, which essentially extended a one-year deal worth $17.8 million. The deadline to accept or decline such offers was Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.

Obviously Smith declined his and now will take his bullpen success to Atlanta, a team looking to make the next step after two years of early postseason exits. Smith had 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 63 appearances last year for the Giants. He was an All-Star for the first time.

The Braves, meanwhile, had a 4.18 bullpen ERA, which ranked 11th in the league, so it wasn’t terrible, but they had 11 different pitchers notch saves last season.

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