Tha Sports Junkies 101

Smith Trade Means High Risk, Giant Reward for San Francisco



Will Smith cost the Giants their top prospect, Phil Bickford.  As long as San Francisco wins the Fall Classic though, it will never matter.

Amidst all of the chaos prior to Monday’s 4:00 PM EST trade deadline, the Giants made a minor addition that seems minuscule when compared to the other news around the league.

San Francisco had been involved in talks to acquire Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon as they attempted to add a relief pitcher for the stretch run.  Although he is not in the same class as the aforementioned closers, the Giants struck a deal for Milwaukee Brewers’ lefty Will Smith.

Over two and a half seasons with the Brewers, Smith has made 181 appearances and has an ERA of 3.28.  He has had great success against left-handed hitters.  Smith will join an already talented bullpen featuring Hunter Strickland, Santiago Casilla, and Derek Law.

Many expected Milwaukee to trade Smith at the deadline.  However, not many suspected that he would fetch such a great return.

When it was announced that catcher Andrew Susac and Giants’ top prospect Phil Bickford were going to the Brewers, baseball insiders and writers across the country applauded young Milwaukee General Manager David Stearns for his impressive trade.

Bickford was a first round draft choice in 2013 and 2015.  The 6’4″ right-hander has a fastball that can touch 98 MPH as well as a heavy sinker. ranked Bickford 65th on their Midseason Top 100 Prospects list.  In 17 starts between A and High-A, Bickford has a 2.71 ERA and 105 strikeouts over 93 innings.  His 3.89 K/BB ratio has many scouts raving about the 21 year-old.  Many Giants fans who are familiar with the 2016 Futures Game participant were outraged over this move:

I personally expect big things from Phil Bickford, so I can understand the outrage that a lot of Giants fans are experiencing.  People are already comparing this trade to the deal that dealt Zack Wheeler to the New York Mets for Carlos Beltran in 2011.

Beltran was pitiful for San Francisco down the stretch, while Wheeler has blossomed into a solid starter with New York.  Will Smith has not even arrived to his new home yet, and he is already being perceived as a bust.

But if the Giants win the World Series, none of this will matter.

Just like in 2011, the Giants are going for it.  They are not looking at what someone could become in the future, but rather who someone is now.   Will Smith is a really solid relief pitcher, and he may very well be the final piece that the Giants need to continue their even-year trend of winning the World Series.  

Phil Bickford could turn out to be a stud.  Then again, Phil Bickford could become just another player.  The Giants don’t know what their 2015 first-round draft pick will become right now.  But they do know that Will Smith can help this team win.

Most of the time, trading prospects for veterans almost never works out for the team getting younger.  Look at the Miguel Cabrera trade.  Detroit sent Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller to the Florida Marlins for the future Triple-Crown Winner.

Trading Maybin and Miller seemed insane at the time, but the turnout could not have been better for the Tigers.  They received a future Hall of Famer for essentially nothing.

Every Giants fan in the country needs to take a step back and stop looking at the bigger picture.  Winning a World Series is the ultimate accomplishment in baseball.  When a team has an opportunity to make a run, they should invest their future to improve their odds.

The Giants aren’t making a dumb move by trading Bickford.  He is a player who could help you win a World Series in the future.  Will Smith can help you win a World Series now.