Smith welcomed trade to Milwaukee

Save your Fresh Prince of Bel Air jokes. This particular Will Smith — the one who was traded from the Royals to the Brewers on Thursday — has heard them all.

“Remember that ESPN commercial that came out with Michael Jordan?” he said in a conference call with reporters. “That’s basically my life.”

Here’s the link: Check it out if you don’t know the commercial Smith was referencing.

When did the jokes get old?

“That’s a good question,” Smith said with a sigh. “I get them all the time. I think I’ve just learned to live with it. Some of them are funny, but some of them are just, ‘Come on…’ It’s all in good fun. I enjoy it. I mean, I’m a white guy named Will Smith. There it is.”

At least one of his new Brewers teammates will recognize this Will Smith when he arrives at Maryvale Baseball Park for Spring Training. Smith and Brewers right-hander Johnny Hellweg are good friends from their days together in the Angels’ farm system (Smith was traded to the Royals in in July 2010 and Hellweg to the Brewers in July 2012). The two were “talking all day” in the wake of the trade, Smith said, and are planning to share an apartment in Spring Training. Smith is also good friends with Brewers prospect Ronaldo Jenkins, a 2011 Draft pick of Milwaukee and a fellow Georgian.

Smith welcomed his latest move.

“The first time I was traded, I didn’t really know what to think about it, but the second time around, I’m excited,” Smith said. “I know it’s not that the Royals didn’t want me, it’s that Milwaukee wants me more. I’m ready to start the season.

“I like to think it’s a good move. Obviously the Royals had an unbelievable pitching staff there, and it was a logjam a little bit. But they gave me the opportunity, and I’m very thankful for what they did for me. But to head to Milwaukee with a chance for the rotation, I’m thankful for that, too.”

Asked whether he felt pegged as a reliever with the Royals, he said, “To be honest, I didn’t know my future there. I was just happy to be in the big leagues. When I was in Kansas City, the reporters there asked the same question: ‘What do you want to do?’ To be honest, I don’t really care. As long as you’re in the big leagues and you have a uniform, how can you care what you do?”

He said he enjoyed the adrenaline rush of relief work, and learned some things about attacking hitters in that role. For example, Smith used his slider significantly more often in relief, and saw a slight uptick in his fastball velocity. But like many young pitchers, he prefers to start.

On his style of pitching, Smith said, “I’m competitive. I don’t get scared. I’m not going to back down from anybody. I’ll attack you with my fastball and then use my breaking stuff to try to get you out. Just establish the strike zone early,” trust my catcher and go right at them.”


Follow me on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy

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