The Future of Mallex Smith with the Seattle Mariners
At this point, we still don’t know if there will be a baseball season or not. But today, I am looking at Mallex Smith and his future as the Seattle Mariners center fielder.
Last year the Mariners reacquired Mallex Smith in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays. It is interesting because the Mariners had acquired Smith from the Atlanta Braves on January 11, 2017, but traded him within minutes to the Rays.
Mallex Smith had two solid seasons in Tampa Bay, a major reason the Mariners picked up from the Rays. He batted .270 and .298 in those two seasons. Last year, he got hurt early on in spring training so he didn’t make the trip to Japan staying behind in Peoria, Arizona before joining the team in Seattle.
The three games he played in March he batted .231. However, Smith had a terrible month of April, batting .155. Seattle optioned Mallex Smith to Tacoma where he played for two weeks before returning to Seattle. It wasn’t just his hitting that wasn’t good, his fielding was subpar as well. I don’t think the Mariners expected him to field like other center fielders like Ken Griffey Jr. had in the past, but someone that could handle the position just fine.
Mallex Smith’s best month was June when he hit .274 after batting .250 in May. Though the season wasn’t what he or the Mariners were hoping for, he did lead the league in stolen bases with 46. The Mariners were hoping before this season was interrupted they would be one of the top teams running the bases.
For Mallex Smith to stick in Seattle he will have to rebound playing a lot like he did the two years in Tampa Bay. In fact, he may still be valuable trade bait if he does play well since the organization will have more outfielders than they can start in the next couple of years. More than likely, Jake Fraley or #1 prospect Jarred Kelenic will be in centerfield. #2 prospect Julio Rodriguez most likely plays in right field.
This not only means that Mallex Smith will be traded they might trade Mitch Haniger as well. His value will depend on how healthy he comes back and how he plays. The Mariners have Kyle Lewis expecting to start this season along with the Braden Bishop to begin the season at Tacoma.
This brings the total to seven outfielders with the Mariners only keeping four. So general manager Jerry Dipoto will have a dilemma what to do in 2021 and 2022 with these spots. It certainly is a problem the Mariners haven’t had for sometimes. The story will continue with fans finding what happens. Go M’s.