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Bumgarner, Smith reject SF's qualifying offers

@mi_guardado
November 14, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will have a new closer in 2020. Left-hander Will Smith, the club’s lone All-Star this past season, declined the Giants’ one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer and signed a three-year, $39 million deal with his hometown Braves on Thursday. Smith’s contract includes a $13 million club

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will have a new closer in 2020.

Left-hander Will Smith, the club’s lone All-Star this past season, declined the Giants’ one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer and signed a three-year, $39 million deal with his hometown Braves on Thursday. Smith’s contract includes a $13 million club option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout.

According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Smith was prepared to accept the Giants’ offer before the Braves wooed him with a multiyear deal ahead of Thursday’s 2 p.m. PT deadline.

Since Smith rejected the qualifying offer and signed elsewhere, the Giants will receive Draft-pick compensation in 2020. The value of those picks varies based on whether or not the clubs receive (or pay into) revenue sharing and whether or not the player’s new contract exceeds $50 million (full explanation here). The Giants’ extra Draft pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B, which falls between the second and third rounds.

The Giants could recoup another Draft pick in the same range if left-hander Madison Bumgarner ends up departing via free agency as well. As expected, Bumgarner joined Smith in declining the Giants’ qualifying offer on Thursday. Bumgarner will now have the opportunity to test the open market, where he is expected to command more lucrative multiyear offers.

It should be noted that players who reject a qualifying offer are still free to negotiate a new deal -- for one year or multiple years -- with their original team. The Giants, who are in need of starting pitching depth, are expected to maintain contact with Bumgarner throughout the offseason, but the 30-year-old has reportedly already begun to draw interest from the Phillies and the Yankees.

The Braves have also been viewed as a potential landing spot for Bumgarner, who hails from nearby North Carolina. Bumgarner led the Giants with 207 2/3 innings in 2019 and logged a 3.90 ERA with 203 strikeouts over 34 starts.

Smith, a native of Newnan, Ga., has already secured his homecoming by signing the first major deal of the offseason with Atlanta. He emerged as one of the league’s top closers in 2019, converting 34 saves while posting a 2.76 ERA with 96 strikeouts over 65 1/3 innings. He’ll join a Braves bullpen that already includes former Giants teammate Mark Melancon, who was dealt to Atlanta in exchange for pitching prospect Tristan Beck at the Trade Deadline.

Smith’s departure is a significant loss for the Giants’ bullpen, which was the strength of the team for the bulk of the 2019 campaign. Tony Watson will return after exercising his 2020 player option earlier this month, but the Giants will also be without Reyes Moronta, who is rehabbing from right shoulder surgery. Watson and Shaun Anderson will likely enter next spring as candidates to replace Smith as the Giants’ closer, though Anderson could also be used as a starter.

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.