The Future of Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 30: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a game-winning solo home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on June 30, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Justin Smoak is a player with only a few years left in his prime. After five seasons in Canada, he is a free agent and fans are wondering if this is the last time Smoak has played in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform. In recent years, the South Carolina native has become a favorite with fans and his teammates. In 2019, Smoak hit .208/.342/.406 with 22 Home Runs and 61 RBIs in 121 games with the Blue Jays. Smoak has a .995 fielding percentage and just four errors in eighty-nine games at first base this season. Smoak made eight million with the Blue Jays in 2019, so as a free agent, he can expect to make a little bit less than that.

Toronto Blue Jays

It’s fair to say that the Blue Jays are the favorite to land Smoak. After playing his last five seasons in Toronto, his teammates view Smoak as a leader and a mentor within the clubhouse.¬†Despite expressing his intentions to remain in Toronto and retire a Blue Jay, it ultimately comes to the management to decide whether or not to bring him back in 2020. Smoak is the last player from the 2015 season to still be on the Blue Jays roster. If Smoak signs with another team it will be the end of an era in Toronto.

Other Options

If the Blue Jays don’t wish to re-sign Smoak, here are some other teams where he might make a good fit.

Boston Red Sox

It seems that the Boston Red Sox are in need of a first baseman, now that Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce are free agents. Justin Smoak has plenty of experience in the American League and is younger than both of them. As the team looks to start anew, Smoak could be the answer to the Red Sox first base issues. Not to mention Smoak can promote veteran leadership to players like Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts.

Washington Nationals

Smoak would be a good fit in the Nation’s Capital assuming the Washington Nationals are not going to re-sign Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Adams. Zimmerman managed to play in only fifty-two games with the Nationals in 2019. Matt Adams had a decent 2019, but may not be their every day first basemen going forward. Despite being a part of the Nationals World Series team, General Manager Mike Rizzo may want to move on. Although it’s unlikely that the Nationals re-sign Adams and Zimmerman, this would mean the Nationals would need another first baseman. Why not Justin Smoak?

Baltimore Orioles

Probably the best fit for Justin Smoak outside of the Blue Jays is the Baltimore Orioles. Like the Blue Jays, the Orioles are a young team in need of some veteran leadership. Mark Trumbo is now a free agent, so first base is open for Smoak. Camden Yards is a hitters park so playing there could help boost his numbers. The Orioles could trade Smoak which could help the Orioles bolster their farm system for the future; and allowing him to play with a contender. Ultimately, Baltimore could be a great home for Smoak if he doesn’t stay in Toronto.

Wild Card Pick: The New York Yankees

The 2019 season showed the Yankees injury issues. Assuming that some of the Yankees stars go down with injuries again, then Smoak would be the “Next Man Up” and be able to shine. Ultimately, a lot would have to happen for the Yankees to be considered.

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