I spoke with John Smoltz this morning, and asked him about the Nationals' pursuit of his services this off-season.
"I was approached by several clubs, including the Nationals, but I didn't see any that were a great fit for me and my family," he said. "Money wasn't really a factor."
So, at 43, are you retired?
"I'm all but retired, I'm not ready to announce anything yet," he said, "but I am getting pretty pumped about starting my broadcasting career." Smotz will be doing some analysis for the TBS major league broadcasts this season.
Smoltz told me the bottom line for him was that he simply doesn't miss playing. "I came back last year after major surgery, and I was still able to compete, though not at the level I used to," he said. "I think my desire to come back last year was to show myself I can still play. I proved that to myself, and I think I'm ready to move on with my life." No thoughts of a mid-season comeback a la Pedro Martinez/Roger Clemens? "Not really," he said. "That's a lot of hard work. I just don't miss playing. I thought I would, but I don't."
Smoltz is currently part of the "STOP Sports Injuries" campaign along with Dr. James Andrews, the renowned Birmingham, Alabama sports physician. "We need to create a stronger awareness of the importance of proper techniques, open lines of communication, and encouraging safe play with young athletes," he said. "I hope parents will take the time to check out our website (www.stopsportsinjuries.org) and see what they can do."
Smoltz is a mortal lock for the Hall of Fame, and should provide some intersting insights in the booth. It's clear he's not shy about saying exactly what he thinks.