Just two weeks ago, John Smoltz was the latest Hall of Fame caliber player to cling on too long to the game he loved, crashing and burning at New Yankee Stadium, and getting walloped by the Bombers for 8 runs, finishing his Red Sox career with an ERA over eight.
While the 42-year-old hasn't had a quality start all year, and peaked against the Royals over five innings, he's coming back to the NL, this time with the Cardinals. The low risk, high reward deal for the first place Cards can do little to hurt them, given the horrific August that the second place Cubs have endured.
With a decent lead in the division and hefty rotation anchored by Carpenter and Wainwright, Smoltz will try to bridge the gap to the suddenly sensational Ryan Franklin who is tied for the league lead in saves, with 30. Being a step-up man is a new business venture for the 21-year veteran, but Smoltz arguably had his best years out of the pen, when he saved 144 games for Braves from 2002-2004 with a 2.47 ERA.
Will Smoltz hit those numbers? No. Will he be somewhat formidable for the Cards? Who knows. But one thing is for sure, the guy just doesn't want to leave the game. Whether he was influenced more by Brett Favre's return on Tuesday, or the Cardinals playoff guarantee, is still up for debate.