It is rumored that the Red Sox will release John Smoltz on Monday, freeing the veteran righty to sign with any team for a pro-rated portion of the major league minimum salary.
And, according to mlb.com, the Cardinals and Marlins are considered to be the two teams most likely to try to sign Smoltz while the Dodgers are considered to be something of a dark horse.
Smoltz has refused, up to this point, to go to the minors to try to build up his surgically repaired arm. Is he willing to go to the bullpen? He probably would have to be to catch on with St. Louis. i suppose it's possible that the Cardinals could view him as replacement for struggling fifth starter Todd Wellemeyer. But their real need is a righty setup man in the bullpen.
The Cardinals would seem to offer a better chance for Smoltz to make a run in the playoffs than the Marlins, who are fighting for the wild card. But the Dodgers, who once had a commanding lead in the NL West but lately have been stumbling, might need help in the rotation the most.
Smoltz reportedly has reached 92 mph with the Red Sox. So he still has something on the ball. But he seems to be struggling to find the feel for his pitches and to have the durability to start games.