Will Smoak be a Mariner?
Ken Griffey Jr. retired without saying a word, Don Wakamatsu was fired, and the M’s lost 101 games in the season. There isn’t a lot about the 2010 Mariners season that brings value, so fans were hoping that young rookie Justin Smoak would be worth giving up the dream of watching Cliff Lee pitch every fifth game.
After the shock of being traded from Texas, which was offering a young guy allusions of a World Series appearance in his rookie year, he was traded to Seattle and promptly played down to the level of the struggling line up until he was sent to Tacoma for the remainder of the year.
Smoak has struggled on and off the field in 2011. His father died, his face was smashed and his hands were sore. You have to feel for the guy that has had one major disappointment after another during his big league career. However, are emotional attachments enough to keep Smoak as the everyday first baseman?
With strong free agents like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder on the market and the Mariners with cartload of extra cash to spend heading into the offseason, Smoak’s potential starts to look less and less appealing next to the power and consistency offered by names like those.
However, the Mariners have enough history with putting all their eggs in one basket to know that a single “name” isn’t enough to change the course of the club. (Cliff Lee, Chone Figgins and even Ichiro for that matter) have done little to help Seattle. Names haven’t helped Seattle for a long time. Seattle is working on creating names now, not buying them.
However, even if the Mariners want to stay within the organization, Mike Carp offers some very attractive numbers ending the season with a batting average of .276 with 12 home runs and 46 RBI’s compared with Smoak’s .239 average, 15 home runs and 55 RBI’s. And Carp only appeared in 79 games. Smoak played in 123.
However, every report points to Smoak as being the man at first moving into 2012 or at least a tag team DH, 1B duo between Carp and Smoak. The question is if the Mariners can afford another season of looking for potential instead of looking to become contenders?
No holds barred – who would be your choice for the starting first basemen next season? Smoak, Carp, Pujols or Fielder?