John Smoltz to sign with Cardinals

Starter John Smoltz has found a new team in the St. Louis Cardinals.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Free agent pitcher John Smoltz will accept the Cardinals’ offer to join the club as its fifth starter after clearing waivers at noon (St. Louis time) today, barring an unforeseen waiver claim, multiple sources said Tuesday.

Smoltz, the only pitcher in major-league history to achieve both 200 wins and 150 saves, becomes eligible to join his new club after clearing release waivers. The Boston Red Sox designated the former NL Cy Young Award winner for assignment Aug. 7 before placing him on waivers Monday. Teams have 48 hours to place a claim in the unlikely event they are willing to assume the balance of Smoltz’s $5.5 million contract.

Since the Red Sox released him, the Cardinals will only have to pay the prorated portion of Smoltz’s contract, which is roughly $100,000.

This isn’t a bad signing for a club that is trying to add talent to make a World Series run. While Smoltz certainly looked washed up in his brief stint in Boston, he might be rejuvenated pitching in the NL again and is certainly worth a look considering the other fifth-starter candidates for the Cardinals are Todd Wellemeyer, Brad Thompson, P.J. Walters and Mitchell Boggs.

There’s also speculation that Smoltz could wind up being a potential setup man for Ryan Franklin in the bullpen.

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Is John Smoltz done?

John Smoltz has been one of the finest pitchers in his era, but has he reached the end of his career?

Thursday night, Smoltz was rocked for nine hits and eight earned runs in just 3.1 innings of work as the Yankees crushed the Sox 13-6 in New York. Smoltz got through the first three innings without giving up a run, but once the Yankees started turning over their lineup, they began to tee off on him.

This was his fourth start in a row where he’s given up at least five earned runs. Over that span, he’s not only been incredibly hittable, but he also has been missing with his fastball and last night he struggled with his control. When he’s missing with his pitches, he’s leaving the ball in the zone and he’s getting crushed. One of the main reasons he’s still pitching at 42 is because he’s always had impeccable control. But if he doesn’t have that part of his game, he might as well be throwing beach balls at hitters.

Smoltz was a nice signing for the Sox in the offseason and maybe he still needs time to work himself back into game shape after having shoulder surgery earlier this year. But Boston can’t continue to lose every fifth day waiting for him to work out the kinks.

Maybe it’s time for Terry Francona to move Smoltz to the bullpen.

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