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.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mets and free agent reliever Brad Brach have agreed on a one-year deal worth $850,000. The contract includes a player option for the 2021 season with a base salary of $1.25 million and additional performance incentives.
Brach, 33, signed as a free agent with the Cubs this past February. After posting an ugly 6.13 ERA over 39 2/3 innings, the Cubs released him in early August. The Mets picked him up shortly thereafter. Brach’s performance improved, limiting opposing hitters to six runs on 15 hits and three walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings through the end of the season.
While Brach will add some much-needed depth to the Mets’ bullpen, his walk rate has been going in the wrong direction for the last three seasons. It went from eight percent in 2016 to 9.5, 9.7, and 12.8 percent from 2017-19. Needless to say the Mets are hoping that trend starts heading in the other direction next season.