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.
The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they have promoted general manager Alex Anthopoulos to President, Baseball Operations and General Manager and have extended his contract through 2024. They have likewise extended the contracts of manager Brian Snitker and his coaching staff through the 2021 season.
Anthopoulos’ promotion will not likely change his duties very much, as it’s become increasingly common for top baseball operations executives to be given the title of “president” as opposed to “GM.” Part of this is some expansion of the role of said executives. Some of it is simple title inflation. Some of it is to prevent other teams from being able to interview and potentially poach top executives without permission under the guise of promotion.
Anthopoulos was hired following the 2017 season, replacing former GM John Coppolella, who resigned and was subsequently permanently banned from baseball following his involvement in a scandal in which he breached rules in connection with signings of international players and obstructed Major League Baseball’s investigation into it all. Before that Antopoulos served as the Blue Jays’ GM for seven years.
Snitker took over as interim manager when the Braves fired Fredi Gonzalez in the middle of the 2016 season. He and Coppolella did not get along and there were strong suggestions that he would never lose the interim tag, but he has been on far steadier ground since Anthopoulos took over. Winning helps, of course, and under the leadership of Anthopoulos and Snitker, the Braves have won the last two NL East titles, going 187-137 in the past two seasons.