Giants add left-hander Smith in deal with Brewers

Giants add left-hander Smith in deal with Brewers

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants attempted to reinforce their bullpen by announcing their acquisition of left-hander Will Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers shortly before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Giants relinquished a potentially valuable package of players. They parted with right-hander Phil Bickford, their No. 1 draft pick in 2015 and their top prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, and catcher Andrew Susac, who spent parts of the previous two seasons with San Francisco as Buster Posey's backup.

The Giants, who lead the second-place Dodgers by two games in the National League West, demonstrated their current emphasis on short-term needs by exchanging a promising youngster -- Bickford -- for a proven veteran. They've done this repeatedly, parting with first-round selections such as right-handers Zack Wheeler, Tim Alderson and Kurt Ainsworth to address personnel priorities.

Smith, 27, fills the Giants' desire for a high-volume strikeout reliever (301 in 274 Major League innings). Oddly, left-handed batters have hit .316 off him this year, compared to .143 for right-handed swingers. He has pitched almost exclusively in set-up roles, having converted one save in 216 Major League appearances.

Smith appeared in 78 and 76 games in 2014 and 2015, respectively, but was limited to 27 games this year after missing the season's first two months with a torn ligament in his right knee. He went 1-3 with a 3.68 ERA for the Brewers while recording 22 strikeouts in 22 innings.

The Giants had been debating over whether Bickford, 21, would fit better as a starter or reliever. He was 5-6 with a 2.71 ERA in 17 starts this year, dividing the season between Class A Advanced San Jose and Class A Augusta. Susac, 26, was batting .273 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 58 games for Triple-A Sacramento.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.