San Francisco Giants: Who will be the closer if Will Smith is traded?

CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 09: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants participates in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field on July 09, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - JULY 09: Will Smith #13 of the San Francisco Giants participates in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game at Progressive Field on July 09, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco Giants could be looking to sell at the deadline and reliever Will Smith is likely at the top of their list. But who becomes the closer if he is dealt?

The San Francisco Giants have been on the most improbable of runs over the month of July winning 16 of their last 19 games en route to an above-.500 record for the first time since August of last season.

But while their recent hot stretch has been fun, the team still could very well decide to be sellers at the deadline — at least partially.

While rumors have ramped up that the Giants could, in fact, hold on to longtime ace Madison Bumgarner, the trade talks around another Giants pitcher have only intensified. That pitcher is current closer Will Smith.

Smith has been nothing short of phenomenal this season converting on 24-of-26 of his save opportunities while posting a 2.55 ERA in 43 games pitched. The 30-year-old has 63 strikeouts in just 42.1 innings and hosts a WHIP of just 0.921 this year.

But his excellent performances could push him right off the active roster as his name has been connected with a large number of teams.

As many as 10 different organizations have reportedly contacted the Giants about acquiring Smith before the deadline meaning that the team will have to make quite the decision regarding his future. And out of all the players currently on the roster, Smith is likely the most probable to be dealt.

And if he is traded away this month, who would take over the closer role?

Fortunately, the Giants bullpen has been absolutely fantastic this season — even outside of Smith. At the time of writing, the Giants currently hold the best bullpen ERA in the National League and that’s because of the play of Smith among others.

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Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, and Reyes Moronta have each posted ERA’s under 3.00 so far this season and each could make their own case to assume the closer role.

Dyson is the only other player with a save on the season even picking up the three-out save in Monday night’s come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Cubs.

The former Texas Ranger right-hander has experience closing in the past as he temporarily filled the role with the Giants in 2017 following Mark Melancon‘s injury. Dyson even served as the Rangers primary closer in 2016 to great success before being DFA’d the following season.

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Another option could be left-hander Tony Watson. Watson also has experience as a closer having taken over the role from — once again — Melancon back in 2016 while the two were together in Pittsburgh. But much like Dyson, he was stripped of the role the following season after a rough start.

Finally, there’s Reyes Moronta — a player who certainly has the stuff and potential to be a closer down the line. Moronta is the youngest of the three and has no experience closing games but his strikeout ability and incredible stuff give him the highest potential of the trio.

However, Moronta’s control issues and tendency for erratic outings once in a while could prohibit him from receiving the role just yet. But he’s clearly being primed for that role down the line.

Ultimately, Dyson seems to be the best bet to assume the closer role as he has the most experience at the position and was even given a chance to prove his worth recently.

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However, a wrench could be thrown into those plans as multiple teams have also inquired about his availability on top of Smith’s. The same goes for Watson who likely holds less value than Dyson because of his pending free agent status.

Unless the Giants get a really good offer, don’t expect them to trade Dyson as he is still under control through next season. But Watson and Smith could be prime candidates to be traded given that they will be free agents after this year.

It could be encouraging to see Moronta take the closer role and run with it, but it’s more likely we see an established veteran like Dyson or Watson assume the role if Smith is traded.

But if more deals are made, we could see Moronta as the San Francisco Giants closer before the end of the season.

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The good thing is that Smith is tradeable because the Giants have options. Whether it’s Dyson, Watson, or Moronta, replacing Smith may not prove as challenging as it would for most teams.