The Post-Dispatch’s Joe Strauss and ESPN's Jayson Stark are among sources reporting that the St. Louis Cardinals will sign pitcher John Smoltz assuming no waiver claims are made for the veteran right-hander before he officially becomes a free agent at noon Wednesday. The Boston Red Sox released the future Hall-of-Famer on Monday after he posted a 2-5 record and a 8.33 ERA.
The 42-year-old Smoltz is the only pitcher in baseball history with 200 wins and 150 saves. Though he has struggled in the rotation this season, the Cardinals are planning on placing Smoltz in the rotation as the team’s fifth starter, according to the P-D.
The Cardinals have been unable to find any consistency from a variety of fifth starters this season. Todd Wellemeyer, Mitchell Boggs, and others are a combined 10-15 record with 5.45 ERA in 188.1 innings before Tuesday night’s action. In his start on Tuesday, Boggs allowed five runs on nine hits and three walks in only four innings of work.
With a need in the bullpen as well, Smoltz would seemingly be a good fit in front of closer Ryan Franklin, a role ESPN reports is planned for the veteran. In the first two innings of his starts this season, opponents are hitting only .228 against him. On the season, hitters are batting .250/.342/.313 against him the first time Smoltz faces a lineup. That line increases to .388/.397/.657 when the lineup comes around for a second time.
The long-time Atlanta Brave is holding right-handed hitters to line of .232/.259/.390. Smoltz has not been as efficient with lefties. They are pounding the pitcher to a tune of .440/.490/.758.
Sure to be a Hall-of-Famer, Smoltz has a career mark of 212-152 with a 3.32 ERA. Also, he has 154 career saves to go along with 3044 strikeouts. The 1996 Cy Young award winner is an eight-time All-Star.
The former Detroit Tiger farmhand is considered to be one of the best big game pitchers of his generation. Smoltz has a 15-4 record and a 2.65 ERA in 40 career post-season appearances. He was named the 1992 NLCS MVP after recording two victories in three starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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