Braves trade Will Smith to Houston for Jake Odorizzi

Closer was lights out during World Series run
Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith celebrates after Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez made...
Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith celebrates after Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez made the last out in Game 4 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Atlanta. The Braves won 3-2, to lead the series 3-1 games. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)(Ashley Landis | AP)
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 11:06 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - The Braves traded closer Will Smith to the Houston Astros in exchange for starter Jake Odorizzi.

Smith began his career in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals and spent time with the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants before signing with the Braves after the 2019 season. He was an above-average pitcher in his two-and-a-half seasons in a Braves uniform, racking up a 3.87 ERA and 114 ERA+. Smith was the closer for the Braves last year and finished 60 games, the most in the majors. He only converted 37 saves that season, leading many online fans to refer to his appearances as “the Will Smith experience.”

The 33-year-old Smith was lights out during the Braves’ 2021 playoff run, notching a 0.00 ERA in four appearances during the World Series. He threw the pitch that secured the Braves’ first title since 1995.

Odorizzi also began his career with the 2012 Royals before spending time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins. He signed a free agent contract with the Astros prior to the 2021 season. During his time with the Astros, Odorizzi tallied a 4.04 ERA and was a league-average pitcher. He was shelled during the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, giving up four earned runs in four innings during game two. He was more successful in the World Series, striking out five batters in 2.1 scoreless innings during game one.

Acquiring Odorizzi helps shore up the Braves’ starting rotation, which has been a huge question mark for the defending champs. Starters Charlie Morton and Ian Anderson have not had great seasons, with ERAs north of 4.00. Rookie Spencer Strider has had a breakout season, but is unproven in late-season and playoff scenarios.

Smith was mostly used in a setup role after the Braves signed free agent closer Kenley Jansen this past offseason. Today is MLB’s trade deadline.