The Mariners are hot right now and there are those hitters who are struggling to hit like Brad Miller, but in the case of Justin Smoak he’s been struggling for years. Right now Smoak is sitting at .215 and in his career he’s batted a pathetic .226.
This has gone on long enough to be honest. Last year was supposedly Smoak’s last chance, but this year was and is Smoak’s last chance and right now he’s blowing his final chance.
Smoak has never been the hitter that he was intended to be. Smoak was acquired by the Mariners in that big Cliff Lee deal that sent him, Blake Beavan, and Josh Lueke to Seattle. Texas won that trade by the way getting both Lee and Mark Lowe in the trade.
Both Smoak and Beavan have been a huge trade bust for the Mariners, but Smoak has been the biggest bust of the trade as he was intended to be the Mariners star first basemen and all he’s done has been a Richie Sexson clone.
All he does is hit those big home runs a couple times and the other times he fails or strikes out. Smoak has averaged 111 strikeouts in his three full seasons with the Mariners and his best batting average was last year when he hit .238.
Smoak was hitting .244 at one point in the season, and since May 20th he’s had 7 hits in 51 at bats and has struck out 18 times. If he fails to hit above .250 at the end of the season I do believe that the “Justin Smoak era” will come to an end. Fans wouldn’t even be sad – except for the women who have crushes on Smoak – that Smoak will be gone.
The only problem the Mariners will have is who will be the new first basemen in replacement for Smoak? Dustin Ackley played first base in college so we could see the Mariners call up Xavier Nady and move Ackley to first if Smoak continues to struggle. Ackley has shown so far this season that he’s nearly there in showing off his talent he had in college. Ackley so far has batted .238 this season, he was up to .267 after the first game against the Minnesota Twins but has since gone into a bit of a slump since last week.
Ackley could be the player to replace Smoak at first base, let’s just hope Lloyd McClendon realizes that before he calls up (gulp) Jesus Montero! Yikes, even though Montero is batting .273 with 8 home runs, I really don’t trust that overweight cheater with being our everyday first baseman.
Smoak though better realize that not only is his future with the Mariners is in jeopardy but his career as well and start focusing on being a more disciplined hitter and getting his average up.
I’ll say this again, if Smoak finishes the season with an average below .250 with nothing to show for it, his career with the Mariners and perhaps the majors is finished.