What did a breakout season in which he posted a .807 OPS earn outfielder Seth Smith? A ticket out of San Diego. The Padres completely revamped their outfield, trading for Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton in rapid-fire succession, relegating Smith — and Cameron Maybin and Will Venable — to the bench.
It was obvious that the Padres would have to trade some of their surplus outfield depth, and Smith knew that. The 32-year-old told Bob Dutton of The News Tribune he was paying attention to everything the Padres were doing and “put two and two together”, so the trade with the Mariners was no surprise. The Padres received right-hander Brandon Maurer in exchange.
In Seattle, Smith will likely platoon with Justin Ruggiano in right field. Smith took 455 of 521 plate appearances against right-handed pitching with the Padres last season, which helps explain his productive year.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.