Seattle Mariners Should Trade For Justin Smoak
The Mariners are a team stuck in the middle. They don’t have the payroll flexibility to acquire major stars in free agency. They don’t have the prospects to trade for one either. Times like these, calls for taking a “risk”.
With all the holes to fill on the roster and a limited budget to fill them, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto will need to get creative. Or, at the very least, he will have to roll the dice. There may not be a better dice roll than former Mariners and current Blue Jays first baseman, Justin Smoak.
Honestly, the only reason we even classify Smoak as a dice throw is that so many of you have either haven’t, refuse to, or don’t care about the simple fact that Justin Smoak has turned himself into a really good player.
In fact, in the 4 seasons since Smoak departed Seattle, he has posted a .244/.336/.472 triple-slash, good for a 116 OPS+. The numbers get even better when you look at his last 2 seasons. In 2017-18, Smoak slashed .256/.353/.496, averaging 32 HRs, 32 doubles, and 78 walks.
Smoak also had a higher barrel percentage than the likes of George Springer, Jose Ramirez, and Juan Soto. Smoak also cracks the top 100 in average exit velocity.
A switch-hitter, the 32-year-old Smoak was a substantially better hitter against RHP, but also won’t kill you from the right side. Actually, he may make for a good platoon partner with Ryon Healy, who traditionally hits lefties extremely well.
The defensive metrics vary depending on where you look, but most consider him to be an above-average defender. This would be a major upgrade over both Healy and Robinson Cano.
Acquiring Smoak is a short-term solution. Smoak will be playing on a player option that will be worth $8 million for the 2019 season. However, because Smoak is a rental, it might actually drive his price down below what he is actually worth.
For the Mariners, something in the neighborhood of Art Warren and Anthony Misiewicz may just be enough for them to land Smoak, or at the very least, gets them into the conversation. Smoak is a good bat that help fills the lineup out. He is an upgrade to the first base position and gives the team more flexibility for the 2019 season at a fair price.