Houston Astros trade Jake Odorizzi to Braves for Will Smith

The Astros are finalizing a trade that would send starter Jake Odorizzi to the Atlanta Braves for left-handed reliever Will Smith, according to multiple reports.

General manager James Click declined to comment in the team’s clubhouse following Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Sox. Odorizzi remained in the dugout throughout the match, but left the stadium before the clubhouse was open to reporters.

If the trade is finalized, Smith would provide a balance to Houston’s all-right-handed bullpen. The bullpen entered Monday with the lowest ERA in the sport and is doing well against left-handed hitters, but manager Dusty Baker has long asked for a southpaw who can afford a different look.

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Smith came closest to Atlanta in their World Series win over the Astros last season. He was a National League All-Star in 2019 as a member of the San Francisco Giants.

Smith is struggling somewhat this season – he has a 1.51 WHIP and 4.38 ERA in 41 appearances – but the 33-year-old southpaw saved a major league-best 37 games last season at Atlanta.

Smith relies on a four-seam fastball/slider combo to generate pursuit outside of the strike zone. Smith’s smell rate is down nearly five runs from last season and he’s giving up 8.5 hits per nine innings – suggesting he’s not missing a lot of bats – but the veteran reliever always strikes out 10 batters per nine.

Smith is playing in the final season of a three-year, $40 million contract that contains a $13 million club option for 2023. Houston can buy out the club option for $1 million.

If the trade is finalized, it will end Odorizzi’s torturous tenure at the Astros. Signed three weeks into spring training for the 2021 season, Odorizzi battled various ailments and expressed frustration with what he perceived to be a lack of confidence in his abilities. Odorizzi made 36 appearances as Astro and finished with a 4.04 ERA.