Smoltz’s Future

As much of the baseball world knows, John Smoltz refused his assignment to minors yesterday, effectively ending his short career with the Red Sox.
Smoltz’s immediate future is still in the Sox hands, as they still must choose to release or trade him. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Sox will be required to pay the remainder of his $5.5 million contract if he is released. If traded, the Sox will owe Smoltz a $500,000 bonus.
While Smoltz certainly had more than his share of struggles while in Boston, he may have enough left in the tank to continue pitching in the majors. His 33 strikeouts in 40 IP, against just 9 walks hints that there may have been an element of bad luck in his performance. Smoltz’s slider and change up have been superb this year, contributing to his good strikeout numbers.
However, the Sox’ brass could not continue to watch him cruise waist-high fastballs when he got behind in the count. Coming into the year, the heater was his biggest question mark, as his latest shoulder surgery was expected to sap his velocity. However, it lost just 1 mph, down to 91.5 (not bad for a 42 year old). Instead, locating the pitch was his biggest problem, contributing to the huge home run totals.
While Smoltz’s days in Boston are done, the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Texas Rangers have been rumored to be in on the future Hall of Famer. It would be unfortunate to see him go down like this, after such an illustrious career, but he certainly was not helping Boston win games.