Finally, after summer camp and 13 regular-season games, the Braves will have their All-Star lefty available late in games. The 31-year-old is coming off a phenomenal season for the Giants, accumulating a 2.76 ERA and career-high 34 saves in 63 games.
Smith was one of the Braves’ several high-priced free agent acquisitions, though the other two - Marcell Ozuna and Cole Hamels - signed one-year pacts. The Braves committed longer term to Smith when they signed the Georgia native to a three-year deal worth $39 million, with a 2023 club option ($13 million), last November.
Snitker said the team doesn’t have a designated role for Smith. When the team signed him, the Braves said that Mark Melancon, a former teammate of Smith’s, still would be the primary closer. The Braves have a deep bullpen that features multiple pitchers with closer experience, so expect Smith to be used in a variety of ways when he’s implemented.
The Braves designated outfielder Scott Schebler for assignment to open a spot for Smith. Schebler has had only one-at bat since the Braves acquired him from the Reds, going 0-for-1 in Wednesday’s loss to Toronto.
MLB team rosters needed to be reduced from 30 to 28, as part of the sport’s altered 2020 rules. The Braves cut to 28 by optioning reliever Chad Sobotka and catcher Alex Jackson to their alternate training site in Gwinnett.