Time to Send Justin Smoak Down

Dave · July 23, 2012 at 7:17 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Mike Carp‘s rehab assignment ends today, as there’s a 20 day limit and Carp is out of options. The team must activate him from the DL or designate him for assignment, and they almost certainly don’t want to do that. So, expect Carp to join the Mariners at Safeco today, which means someone from the roster has to go to Tacoma. Carlos Peguero belongs there, but don’t be surprised if it’s Justin Smoak making the trip south instead.

A month ago, I wrote that I was ready to give up on the idea of Justin Smoak as a core part of the team’s future, and start exploring alternatives at first base. Since I hit publish on that post, Smoak has hit .128/.200/.244 in 85 plate appearances, with his slugging percentage only getting over .200 because he faced a stretch of Triple-A pitchers in Kansas City last week. Smoak is completely and utterly lost at the plate right now, and his season line has sunk to .191/.255/.323, which grades out as the second worst offensive performance of any full time player in baseball this season. For comparison, Justin Smoak’s wRC+ (60) is essentially the same as Brendan Ryan‘s (59), and only one of those two provide any defensive value.

It’s time to send Justin Smoak to Tacoma. If he’s fixable, having him get embarrassed by big league pitchers on a nightly basis isn’t helping anything, and he’s a massive liability in the line-up right now. With Carp coming off the DL, the team has the opportunity to make the switch, and they should take advantage of it. Maybe a 6 week stint in Tacoma will help him get back on track. Maybe he’ll continue to be exposed as a guy without as much offensive talent as everyone thought he had. Regardless, the organization needs to use those six weeks to see whether or not he can respond to a change of venue and a chance to hit minor league pitching again.

This was Justin Smoak’s make or break year. He couldn’t have possibly performed any worse. At this point, the team should send him to Triple-A, give his job to Mike Carp (and, I’d still like to see Jesus Montero get some opportunities at first base, which is his future position anyway), and go from there. Smoak is broken. Keeping him on the roster isn’t helping anyone.


55 Responses to “Time to Send Justin Smoak Down”

  1. bookbook on July 23rd, 2012 3:21 pm

    Bsoly, the difference between HS draftees (or 16-year-olds signed out of South America) and top-of-the-draft first round college stars is kinda obvious. Ackley only got as many minor league ABs as he did because he was learning a new defensive position. Smoak and Ackley didn’t get too few minor league PAs at all, in my opinion.

  2. eponymous coward on July 23rd, 2012 3:31 pm

    Uh, officially wow. I guess that’s one way to get Carp on the roster without demoting Smoak: trade Ichiro.

  3. r-gordon-7 on July 23rd, 2012 3:52 pm

    As a Bronx native who’s lived in Seattle for the past 32 years, I typically don’t “officially” start rooting for the Yankees each year until the M’s have been mathematically eliminated. I don’t think I’ll be waiting that long this year… or perhaps ever again. Overall, I consider Ichiro to be the second most talented position player I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch play the game. (Willie Mays being the first.) Is Ichiro in decline due to age. Of course. But even in decline, Ichiro’s current level of productivity still beats that of most of the deadwood performance on the current M’s roster. And given the utter dearth of marketable talent on the current M’s roster (“marketable” as in capable of putting butts in the seats at Safeco), trading Ichiro for these two pitchers is inexcusable… Well, at least they each do seem to have bounced up and down between the majors and minors enough times to fit right in as Mariners… Sad day for M’s fans – and those of us who used to be M’s fans. I’ll be at Safeco tonight – rooting for Ichiro and his team. Sorry for the rant, but for me this is the final straw…

  4. goat on July 23rd, 2012 6:19 pm

    I’d give Jaso time at 1B before Montero. He got some practice over there in spring training.

  5. The Hamms Bear on July 23rd, 2012 10:13 pm

    Well, they did it.

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