Blue Jays claim Justin Smoak off waivers from Mariners

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Justin Smoak has been Seattle’s primary first baseman for the past four seasons, but the Mariners have given up on the 27-year-old former first-round draft pick and the Blue Jays claimed him off waivers.

There’s been some talk of the Blue Jays potentially trading first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind, so Smoak gives them a possible fallback option.

However, despite being a former top prospect with 20-homer power and solid plate discipline Smoak has never managed to be an above-average hitter for a first baseman. Overall he’s hit just .224 with a .689 OPS in 566 career games, including .202 with a .614 OPS in 80 games this season.

Smoak’s contract includes a $3.65 million option or $150,000 buyout for 2015. It’s hard to see why the Blue Jays would want him around at that price and by claiming him off waivers they’d now be on the hook for the buyout.