Braves Sign Giants Closer Will Smith For $39 Million

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(press release) ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves today signed LHP Will Smith to a three-year contract worth $39 million, with a 2023 club option for $13 million. The club option includes a $1 million buyout that guarantees Smith $40 million over the life of the deal.

Smith, along with Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos, will be available to the media on Tuesday at SunTrust Park at 2 p.m.

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Smith, 30, saved 34 games for the Giants last season, going 6-0 with a 2.76 ERA (20 ER/65.1 IP) in 63 games. The 6-foot-5, 248-pound native of Newnan, Ga., fanned 96 batters, walked 21 and allowed opponents to hit just .196 (46-for-235) against him as he made his first All-Star team. He limited left-handed hitters to a .157 (11-for-70) average and two extra-base hits all season.

Smith joined San Francisco at the trade deadline in 2016 from Milwaukee, where he spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons as well. Originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by Los Angeles (AL) out of Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla., Smith made his major league debut with Kansas City in 2012 as a starter.

Smith began working out of the bullpen fulltime in 2014 with the Brewers, and since that season, the lefty’s 12.26 K/9 rate is the fourth best in baseball among left-handed relievers.

For his career, Smith owns a 26-22 record, a 3.53 ERA (161 ER/410.2 IP) and 494 strikeouts in 359 games, 17 starts. As a reliever, Smith has 49 saves and a 2.95 ERA (104 ER/317.0 IP) in 342 games.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at rnyman@wdef.com.