Will Smith was supposed to be the secret savior of the 2017 Giants bullpen, an affeldtian left-hander with the ability to get right-handers out. All it was going to take was just a little more trust from Bruce Bochy, and he would have be a fine complement to Mark Melancon in the late innings.
Instead, he might be out for the season.
Will Smith going to SF to see Dr. akizuki. Initial read on MRI shows more concern about UCL ligament than earlier MRI. Not good.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) March 21, 2017
#sfgiants not sure whether Will Smith will require Tommy John surgery, but thwy know this is not a minor issue. He'll be out a long time.— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) March 21, 2017
The Giants’ bullpen was already a little suspect, if only because a host of familiar faces were gone, but Smith was supposed to help substantially. As is, the depth chart of lefties probably goes something like this:
- Steven Okert
- Josh Osich
- Ty Blach
- Matt Reynolds
- Kraig Sitton
- Michael Roth
- Andrew Suarez?
This could also force Blach out of the rotation hunt if the team is dubious about Osich and his poor spring so far, turning the battle into a surprise Tyler Beede/Matt Cain exclusive. That seems like a minor waste of Blach’s rotation readiness, but it beats seeing how Jeremy Affeldt’s knees are feeling.
(The Giants should probably see how Jeremy Affeldt’s knees are feeling.)
Other than that, there just aren’t a lot of great options.
Waaaaaait a second, pal. Just hold up there. Don’t do anything rash and sit by the phone.
Really, the best short-term fix would be for Osich to pitch as well as he’s capable of pitching when his body allows. No matter what sort of duct tape you use, though, the Giants’ best left-handed reliever is almost certainly going to be out for a long time, and there isn’t an exciting backup plan that should fill you with confidence.