Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Rangers sign Free Agent LHP Will Smith to One-Year Major League Contract

Smith will join the club’s Spring Training workouts in Surprise, Arizona today

Surprise, Ariz. — The Texas Rangers this morning announced that the club has signed free agent left-handed pitcher Will Smith to a one-year Major League contract.  Smith will join the team’s Spring Training workouts in Surprise today.

To make room on the Major League roster for Smith, infielder Mark Mathias has been designated for assignment.

Smith, 33, split last season with Atlanta and Houston, combining for a 3.97 ERA and 5 saves over 65 relief appearances.  He was acquired by Houston on August 2 in exchange for current Ranger Jake Odorizzi and produced a 3.27 ERA (8 ER/22.0 IP) over 24 relief outings for the Astros.  Houston declined a 2023 club option for Smith on November 9, making him a free agent.

Smith has pitched exclusively for playoff teams over the past three seasons.  He made 3 appearances for Atlanta in the club’s 2020 National League Championship Series loss to the Dodgers at Globe Life Field.  He also totaled 11.0 scoreless innings over 11 postseason appearances in the Braves’ 2021 World Championship run, going 2-0 with 6 saves.  Smith was on the Astros’ World Series roster last year, but did not appear in the club’s Fall Classic win over Philadelphia.

The Georgia native produced a career-best 37 saves for Atlanta in 2021 and was an All-Star with San Francisco in 2019, which was current Rangers Manager Bruce Bochy’s final season with the Giants.  Since the start of 2018, Smith has a 3.27 ERA with 90 saves and a 1.125 WHIP figure over 271 relief outings, and his 11.61 strikeouts per 9 innings over that span ranks 15th among all MLB relievers with at least 200 appearances.

Smith owns a career 3.59 ERA with 91 saves over 513 games spanning 10 Major League seasons with Kansas City (2012-13), Milwaukee (2014-16), San Francisco (2016, 2018-19), Atlanta (2020-22), and Houston (2022).  He was originally selected in the seventh round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of Gulf Coast State College in Panama City, Florida.

Mathias has played in 5 games for Texas this spring, batting .300 (30-10) with 3 RBI and 3 walks.  He was acquired by Texas from Milwaukee in a trade on August 2, 2022, and hit .277 over 24 with the Rangers to end last season.  The Rangers have seven days to trade, release, or outright Mathias to the minor leagues.

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