Mariners demote Justin Smoak to Triple-A

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Justin Smoak is off the disabled list after missing nearly a month with a strained quadriceps, but instead of simply adding him to the active roster the Mariners demoted the first baseman to Triple-A.

Smoak really struggled before the injury, hitting .208 with seven homers and a .643 OPS in 63 games, which is a 100-point drop from his 2013 production.

Logan Morrison has been serving as Seattle’s everyday first baseman and rather than shifting him back to the outfield the Mariners will leave him there and stick with Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders in the corner spots while using the newly activated Corey Hart at designated hitter.

Last year was just the second time in Smoak’s career that he’s been an above-average hitter, so the Mariners may simply be ready to give up on the 27-year-old former top prospect.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.