Justin Smoak once drew comparisons to Mark Teixeira as he came up through the Texas Rangers‘ farm system. He was traded to the Seattle Mariners a few years ago in the big Cliff Lee deal and hasn’t lived up to all the high expectations. It’s time for Smoak to take the next step as a big league hitter, and the Mariners’ offense is going to rely on it. There’s no doubt that Smoak has the power and the ability to hit for average, and I don’t really know why he hasn’t been able to put it together. The Mariners are doing what they can to add power to their lineup as they tried to trade for Justin Upton. They already traded for Kendrys Morales this winter, and have Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, and Jesus Montero returning. That’s all great and dandy but if Smoak can play to his talent, the Mariners would have a pretty powerful middle of the order.
I’m not sure how much more patience the Mariners are going to have with Smoak. They’ll likely look for other options if he starts off slow, but the Mariners need him if they want to contend in the AL West. Regardless how close or far away they seem, a big season from Smoak out of the 6 hole will give the Mariners a ton of opportunities to win baseball games.
Let’s hope for Seattle’s sake Smoak comes prepared for spring training and ready to take on American League pitching. He’s certainly got the talent to do so.