Earlier this month, the San Diego Padres elected to re-sign OF Seth Smith to a two-year, $13 million extension. Before the extension was announced, Smith was expected to be a highly coveted bat amongst contending teams, as the July 31 trade deadline draws nearer. Presently, it appears the team has made a commitment to the 31-year-old career platoon player.
This decision by the Padres organization was questionable, at best.
Smith was extended despite the fact that the club has yet to name its next GM. The man in charge of rebuilding a broken franchise should have a say in important personnel decisions, like the Smith contract extension. The future GM should be allowed to make a decision about, well, the future.
San Diego is not a team on the verge of contention. Rather, the Padres should seek to trade their veteran players, at their peak value, in pursuit of stockpiling young talent. By extending Smith (31), the club is doing just the opposite.
Smith’s value has most likely reached its pinnacle. Contending clubs would likely give up significant young talent to acquire Smith for a stretch run. This season, he is hitting 16 points higher (.283) than his career average and is on pace for career highs in hits, walks, doubles, home runs and runs.
When the Padres select their next GM in the coming weeks, that individual would be wise to consider moving Smith for young prospects, despite the current regime’s decision to extend him. Smith should be moved while his value is high and his skills are coveted, or Padres fans will be forced to watch another declining veteran player eat up payroll.