There has been speculation that Smoltz may accept a move to the minors in an attempt to come back as a reliever. Unsurprisingly, there has even been mention of the Icon returning to the Braves, though management has "no comment" on his future. To see whether it's worth bringing him back, I used the great PitchFX tool from Brooks Baseball to compare Smoltz's stuff from last year versus this year. The main issue with the PitchFX tool is that it cannot capture location, but it should be a good indication of the velocity and movement of his pitches. Smoltz made only 5 starts with the Braves in 2008 (and one relief appearance) versus 8 this season with the Red Sox, but because I'm lazy, I only looked at data for his last three starts in both years. Who's ready for charts?
The top chart shows that the average velocities on his fastball and slider are way down and his changeup's speed is up. From the bottom chart, the break on every pitch except the sinker (which I'm guessing is actually a splitter) is down, significantly so on the fastball, change, and slider. As for his location, the walk ratio is consistent with the last 5 years of his career. However, his HR/9 is more than double that of the last few seasons, his K/9 is down, and he is giving up 13.3 hits per nine.
Clearly his pitches aren't as sharp as Braves fans are used to seeing them . His right arm seems to finally be showing the signs of aging and his numerous surgeries. I personally would love to see Smoltz come back to Atlanta and finish his career in a Braves uniform, but I can't see him being effective in meaningful situations, and you can't bring him back as a mop-up guy. So here's hoping The Bearded Icon comes back to Atlanta, but sticks to working on his golf game.