Mariners are Reportedly ‘Very Close’ To Trading For Padres OF Seth Smith
According to Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle and MLBtraderumors.com, the Seattle Mariners are ‘very close’ on a deal for San Diego Padres outfielder Seth Smith:
At this juncture in the offseason, such a deal makes sense for both teams. The Padres went bartering and found themselves a whole new outfield in Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, Justin Upton from the Braves, and Wil Myers from the Rays.
On the flip side, the Mariners traded a 24-year old Double-A relief pitcher to the Chicago Cubs to get Justin Ruggiano, a right handed hitter who has a career .266/.329/.508 triple slash against left-handed pitching.
With that right-handed bat along with lefty Dustin Ackley in left field and righty Austin Jackson in centerfield, it makes sense for the Mariners to go out and get another left-handed outfield bat, essentially to replace Michael Saunders‘ platoon position– Saunders was traded to the Blue Jays for LHP J.A. Happ early in the offseason.
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Seth Smith is 32 years old and has a solid history of consistent hitting– particularly against right handed pitching. In 8 seasons he is a career .265/.347/.453 hitter with 16 home runs, 60 RBI, 56 walks and only 99 strikeouts per 162 games. In over 2300 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, Seth Smith has hit a robust .277/.358/.481 triple slash with 77 home runs and 271 RBI.
Smith is owed $13 million over the next to seasons, with a team option in 2017. It is unclear who the Mariners might send south in the deal, but a bullpen piece and a mid-level prospect don’t seem out of the realm of possibility.
Smith has played exclusively in the corner outfield spots in the majors since 2008. If the Mariners do indeed trade for the lefty veteran outfielder, they will have a diverse outfield, giving Lloyd McClendon the option to mix and match and platoon to get the best hitting matchups throughout the lineup.
If the deal is imminent, as it seems to be, the Mariners will have a far more balanced lineup than they did last season, with the additions of Nelson Cruz, Justin Ruggiano, and then Seth Smith.
The rotation will be strong too, with another year of experience for youngsters Roenis Elias, James Paxton, and Taijuan Walker.
This team may be best in the AL West if they swing a deal for Seth Smith. More on that later, though, if and when this deal is confirmed.