Will Smith was supposed to be an anchor, dammit. Whenever one side of my brain started worrying about Mark Melancon being the only addition to a dreadful bullpen that lost Sergio Romo, I forced myself to remember Smith. He’s a quality pitcher. He can get lefties and righties out. He’s young and around for awhile.
He’s probably out for 2017. From NBC Sports Bay Area Network Net ... from Alex Pavlovic:
"They had the same opinion," Bochy said. "There is a tear there. You can try to rehab it and if that doesn't work you're behind a couple of months ... It's not a definite he's going to have it done, but two doctors are in agreement on what this is."
And what this is happens to be an elbow strain that most likely requires Tommy John surgery. Smith would be out for 2017 and probably parts of 2018. If he opts for rehab, he might come back this year, but it’s more likely that he would be out for 2017 and much more of 2018 because his surgery recovery would be kicked down the road.
Smith wouldn’t be a free agent until after the 2019 season, so this isn’t the end of his Giants career. It’s just a crushing blow for a bullpen that is used to delivering the crushing blows, not absorbing them. Steven Okert is almost certain to make the team with a strong spring, and Josh Osich has a chance to make the team, even though his March performance has been disconcerting, at best. Ty Blach might have the upper hand, though, if he doesn’t make the rotation over Matt Cain, who is struggling more than Osich.
In better news, the Giants still have Buster Posey and other good players. Here, breathe into this paper bag.
Smith is the first Giants pitcher from the active roster to need Tommy John surgery since Brian Wilson, though several pitchers on the team have had it before, including Derek Law, Osich, and Hunter Strickland. If there’s a team in baseball that can’t complain a lot about Tommy John surgery, it’s the Giants.
But we can sit at a window and look outside at the rain, silently, wondering if the bullpen is going to be okay. That is allowed, if not expected. Good luck, Will Smith.