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Inbox: When will reliever Smith return to Giants?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers questions from fans
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

I haven't heard anything lately on Will Smith's progress. What is his latest timetable for rejoining the active roster?
-- Lou T., Santa Rosa, Calif.

Smith made his second Minor League injury rehabilitation appearance with Class A Advanced San Jose on Sunday. Facing the Stockton Ports, Smith struck out two batters while allowing a run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning (22 pitches). His recovery from Tommy John surgery has proceeded without any known setbacks. Thus, his return very well could be imminent.

I haven't heard anything lately on Will Smith's progress. What is his latest timetable for rejoining the active roster?
-- Lou T., Santa Rosa, Calif.

Smith made his second Minor League injury rehabilitation appearance with Class A Advanced San Jose on Sunday. Facing the Stockton Ports, Smith struck out two batters while allowing a run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning (22 pitches). His recovery from Tommy John surgery has proceeded without any known setbacks. Thus, his return very well could be imminent.

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I still want to know what was going through general manager Bobby Evans' head when he traded Christian Arroyo for Evan Longoria. Watching this year has only validated my concern over that poorly thought-out disaster of a trade. I am not satisfied with the answer I received before. I would still like to know who thought that was a good idea, and how they are currently employed. Don't get me wrong. I love the Giants, but my love for the team is why I am so upset over this terrible trade. Thank you.
-- Andy N., Reno, Nev.

It's impossible for me to tell you exactly who furthered the evolution of this trade. In deals of this magnitude -- featuring the face of a franchise (Longoria) being exchanged for one or more top prospects (Arroyo) -- more than just the usual consensus of baseball executives get involved. In other words, I'm sure that president and CEO Larry Baer was consulted and that director of baseball operations Brian Sabean and his top advisers had their say. Knowing the personalities involved, I imagine that some spirited debate must have occurred.

The Giants wanted a power-hitting position player who could contribute immediately. Remember, this organization is perpetually in "win-now" mode. The club's hierarchy believed that Longoria's potential short-term benefit, as a player who reached or exceeded 20 homers in nine of his 10 seasons with Tampa Bay, extended beyond what Arroyo could bring them. Adding a power bat while staying below the $197 million payroll tax threshold obviously was a concern for the Giants, who found it convenient to acquire a big bat with an established price tag -- albeit an expensive one. Longoria is signed through 2022 at approximately $16 million annually.

I fully understand your unhappiness with the trade. Under ideal circumstances, the Giants would have kept Arroyo and allowed him more of an opportunity to develop. That said, give Longoria more of a chance. He's still adjusting to his new environment, on and off the field. I believe that once he settles in a little more, he can be an asset.

Do the Giants see Julian Fernandez as their future closer?
-- Joaquin M., Clovis, Calif.

Quite possibly. Fernandez stuck around in Spring Training a lot longer than previous Rule 5 picks. Granted, that's not saying much, because the Giants rarely select anybody in the Rule 5 Draft. And that's just it: The effort the Giants devoted toward obtaining Fernandez and working with him during spring demonstrated his legitimacy as a prospect. When you consider closer candidates of the future, don't forget about Reyes Moronta, either.

The Giants have a few outfield prospects who appear to be on the verge of cracking the everyday lineup. I'm thinking of Mac Williamson, Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar and Austin Slater. Where do these four rank in the collective thinking of the Giants' decision-makers?
-- Gerald L., Columbus, Ind.

They rank highly enough to the extent that we might see all four of them perform in a San Francisco uniform before the end of the season. Having sustained his Spring Training excellence into the regular season with Triple-A Sacramento, Williamson probably would be the first farmhand promoted if an injury sidelined one of the starting corner outfielders. Slater, ranked No. 5 among Giants prospects, offers versatility and thus could be another leading option for a callup. Shaw (No. 2), the organization's top power-hitting prospect, and Duggar (No. 3), envisioned as the leadoff hitter of the future, probably won't land in San Francisco until the organization is sure that they can reach the big leagues to stay.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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