Smith fired a scoreless inning while striking out two in Saturday's spring win over the Padres. Smith has only appeared in three spring games, but he has allowed just two baserunners without giving up any runs. The 28-year-old has little to prove after taking over as the Giants' closer last season and running with the job (2.55 ERA, 4.7 K/BB ratio and 14 saves). Mark Melancon, who was initially signed to serve as closer in 2018, has struggled mightily this spring (11.57 ERA in five appearances), making Smith the unquestioned close to begin the 2019 campaign.
Smith signed a one-year, $4.225 million contract with the Giants on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Smith had a solid year at the back end of the Giants bullpen with a 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 71:15 K:BB and 14 saves, though manager Bruce Bochy wouldn't commit to him as the team's closer for 2019. The 29-year-old is the best bet to open the season in the closer's role, but should be featured in a high-leverage role regardless.
Manager Bruce Bochy would not commit to Smith as his closer in 2019, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Smith finished the 2018 season as the Giants' closer, having converted 14 of his 17 save chances while posting a 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 across 53 innings. While the left-hander seems like the best bet to open the season in the ninth inning, Bochy also mentioned Mark Melancon and Sam Dyson as possible endgame options.
Smith was charged with a blown save Tuesday, allowing one run on two hits while striking out one over an inning of work against the Padres. Tasked with protecting a one-run lead, Smith struck out the first batter he faced before allowing a double and game-tying single to take his first blown save since Aug. 24. Despite the blip, the 29-year-old sports an impressive 1.90 ERA and 12.1 K/9 on the season.
Smith fired a shutout inning with three strikeouts and a hit Tuesday against the Padres to collect his 14th save. Smith easily worked around a one-out double, striking out the side en route to his second save in as many nights. The 29-year-old has a sparkling 1.76 ERA and remains firmly in command of ninth-inning duties in San Francisco down the final stretch.