Blog Entry

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

Posted on: August 19, 2009 2:47 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2009 3:09 pm

Determined to prove he's not finished, veteran pitcher John Smoltz has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals after being released by Boston. The deal was finalized Wednesday afternoon.

Smoltz is expected to join the Cardinals' rotation, though he also is capable of working out of the bullpen. St. Louis, in Los Angeles for a night game against the Dodgers on Wednesday, is hoping that Smoltz will help provide the depth it will need for a strong stretch run.

The Cardinals lead the Chicago Cubs by six games in the NL Central and, having already added outfielder Matt Holliday, swingman Mark DeRosa and shortstop Julio Lugo, Smoltz would represent the fourth significant move by a club swinging for the fences and threatening to run away with the division.

How significant a move it will be, if it happens, is yet to be determined. Smoltz, 42, flamed out in Boston, going 2-5 with an 8.32 ERA after coming back from shoulder surgery.

The Cards are expected to plug Smoltz into the back end of their rotation, after Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Joel Pineiro. A return to the National League, where lineups are softer and there is no designated hitter, should be beneficial to Smoltz. And, the Cardinals are hoping, the more he pitches, the sharper he will get.

Even if Smoltz continues to struggle like he did in Boston -- he surrendered 59 hits, including eight home runs, in only 40 innings -- the move really carries very little risk for the Cardinals. They would be responsible for only a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum -- about $100,000 -- and the Red Sox would be on the hook for the rest of his $5.5 million salary.

It is a relatively inexpensive gamble that the Cardinals hope pays off big: Smoltz is one of the best postseason pitchers in history (15-4 career record in October) and could be a lethal weapon either in the rotation or in relief for Tony La Russa's club at some point in the fall.

The Famous Deeg
Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: August 25, 2009 1:47 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2009 4:18 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

The Phils O-fence is a totally different story, you guys will be lucky to make the post-season.

Do you even watch baseball? You do realize the Phils lead the NL in runs scored, right?

Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2009 4:12 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

If you think about it, this is a GREAT move on the Cardinals part. What do they have to lose? Paying $100,000 for a HOF pitcher is a BARGAIN!!!

I suppose at that money, it's not a bad move. But I'm sure Red Sox fans were saying the same thing a few months ago.

Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2009 4:11 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

First of all, I didn't personally throw batteries at JD Drew, not that he didn't get what he deserved. Also, it was ONE battery, not plural, but why let facts get in the way, right?

Also, Vick can still play. Smoltz clearly is washed up. Besides, I wasn't talking character, I was talking playing ability.

But why am I not surprised Cards fans are on board with this move. You all are a bunch of lemmings. It's OK to boo your own team every once in a while, guys. They're big boys. They can take it.

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:51 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

Manny, you are a TOOL!!!   Espn just said he is officially signed and will be a set up man in the bullpen. This is good news and probably the best role for him. In his last seven starts he had an era of .065 in his first two innings pitched. The bullpen will be a perfect fit for him right now to help biuld some confidence and then maybe we can keep him around next year as a 5th starter or in the pen again. If not, BIG DEAL... We paid $100,00.  Now, only if we can use Hawksworth as our 5Th starter till the end of this season and then put him back in the bullpen during the playoffs. He has been Money this year since bringing him up. nny, you are a tool!

Since: Apr 15, 2009
Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:50 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

Some of you are so dense. How is signing Smoltz a bad thing. Look at his previous starts he makes it through the rotation once without many problems. than the second time around he gets rocked. Ok with that being said look at the fact that he now has dave duncan. look what Dave duncan did with Jeff Weaver and Woody Williams just to name a few. so let's say dave duncan can't help hmi as a starter ohh well we put him in the bullpen where he faces each batter only once. hopefully lights out. we are no worse than we were before. i think dunc will make him solid. Please let's not also forget that it only cost the cards $100,000. so if it turns out to be a major fail ohh well.

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:49 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

This is a relatively inexpensive gamble. It not like Duncan to turn a veteran pitcher around.

Since: Jun 4, 2009
Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:48 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

I (obviously) don't have a crystal ball, but by all important indicators, Smoltz is not done yet. Sure, he's lost about 1mph off of most of his pitches, but he's still inducing swings at 33% of pitches he throws outside the zone, which is well above the major league average of 25% and also above his career average of 30%. Batters are swinging at only 66% of pitches he throws inside the zone, which is also better than his career rate of 69%. His contact rate is up a bit - 79% compared to a career average of 74% - but that rate is still slightly below the league average of 80%. It seems, therefore, like Smoltzy is still more than capable of helping a big league team going forward.

Having said all of that, Smoltz has still struggled mightily this season - you don't need to look much farther than his 8.33 ERA to see that. But the main culprits there are his BABIP against (batting average on balls in play) and his LOB% (percentage of runners he 'leaves on base' at the end of innings). Both of those stats are commonly accepted as being largely luck based; pitchers have very little control over either. Smoltz's BABIP against is .390, well above the league average of about .300, and his LOB% is 57%, well below the league average of 72%. Both of those are highly likely to regress towards the major league average going forward and, if that happens, his ERA going forward will be substantially lower than 8.33.

I'm not saying he'll pitch like the Smoltz of old, but an ERA in the low-4's seems reasonable going forward. For the league minimum and as a fifth starter, that's actually very solid for the Cards.

I gathered this data from:

Further information regarding the statistics I mentioned is readily available via google search.

Since: Aug 18, 2008
Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:47 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

Good for Smoltzy.  Hated to see him end his career with the RoidSox.  He'll do better in the NL anyway.  As someone pointed out, it's a no risk scenario for the Cardinals.  Maybe he'll return to his old form for another couple months and another shot to get into the playoffs.  If not, retirement should definitely be on the horizon.

Since: Oct 7, 2008
Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:43 pm

Cardinals sign John Smoltz

I am very happy with this move considering i'm a dodgers fan. smoltz is done. this will not only not help the cardinals but hurt them because he is gonna go 0-4 with like a 10.00 ERA the rest of the season.

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