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Justin Smoak Free Agent Preview

Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak‘s time as a Toronto Blue Jay may be over.

The Jays have a serious youth movement going, as Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette, all occupy the Jays infield now. Smoak, who plays first base, could be moved out in favour of another young player in Rowdy Tellez.

Smoak played DH in 2019 and also plays 1B. The Jays do have the option to keep him in that role, and this could actually make a Jays lineup stronger because of his experience. He would be a great mentor to the Jays’ rising core of young players, Tellez in particular.

Smoak Weaker at the Plate in 2019

Smoak’s offensive numbers weren’t great in 2019 as he batted .208, but he was strong defensively in 121 starts and received a Gold Glove mention. That’s a big plus for the Jays and their young infielders.

He has a lifetime .231 BA but more telling is his seasonal and career OPS. Smoak’s OPS was only .748 in 2019 against a career .744. His highest was .883 in 2017. That’s solid, but not world-class by any means.

Smoak has been with the Jays since 2015 and knows the ups and downs of winning and the success the Blue Jays had when they advanced to the ALCS and lost to Kansas City, who won the World Series that year.

Who Else Needs a Veteran 1st Baseman?

Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers could use someone like Smoak, while teams focusing on the youth movement in the Marlins and Tigers are also said to be interested.

The Marlins and Tigers were both dreadful teams in 2019 with the Marlins going 57-105. The Tigers were worse, at 49-112.

With the Blue Jays closer to success than teams like the Tigers and Marlins and the Jays in need of stabilizing veteran players, it makes sense for them to resign a player like Smoak.

Defense and veteran leadership should win out over offensive numbers, but we may have to wait for the outcome of the Winter Meetings to see where Smoak lands.


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