Baltimore Orioles: Adding Justin Smoak Could be a Good Move
It's true, general manager Dan Duquette and the organization have not done much to revamp their rough-and-tough efforts from 2012—unless you consider the who's-he signing of Adam Greenberg (h/t ESPN.com) a splash.
But is that a bad thing?
Although some have quickly rushed to fault Duquett's offseason brake tapping, when compared to the free-spending practices out here in Los Angeles, but that doesn't necessarily mean the ship is going down in the Baltimore harbor.
In fact, based off of last year, they have already improved—by just having a healthy set of pitchers to fill the squad.
That doesn't mean, however, the team is not going about the day-to-day business to find a power-bat, possible DH spot, in the lineup; yet, it does mean they might have to give up some pitching to make it happen.(h/t MLBTR)
They have kept eyes on several players to fit that role (or roles) including near-by slugger Adam LaRoche. But the option of Justin Smoak, via a trade with Seattle, might just be the perfect option for the team.
Again, that's if the team is willing to send left-handed pitching the Mariners way.
Smoak, who played college ball for South Carolina, came on with the Rangers; displaying a good glove at first base and showing he had decent power from both sides of the plate. He looked to be the solid fit the Rangers needed to cover the corner. That, unfortunately, was until Cliff Lee became available during the trade deadline in 2010.
Off you go, sir. Thanks for the swings.
Following the trade. Smoak, like most players shipped to Seattle, found himself in a media-exiled, pitchers'-park realm. He didn't do terrible. But he didn't do great. He had 39 home runs in two-and-a-third seasons, but he only had 120 RBI in that time.
Until the trade sending Angels' Kendrys Morales to Seattle for Jason Vargas happened, Smoak's name was not called, or really thrown into too many offseason scenarios.
That is, until now.
Baltimore has reportedly looked to add Smoak to the team. According to Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly, the deal might involve pitcher Brian Matusz (one of the great mispronounced last names in the MLB).
And, will that work? More importantly, are the Orioles willing to part with a left-handed pitcher?
Soft consonants aside, Matusz would provide the perfect trade piece in the eyes of Seattle, who do need to add pitching to the rotation—and a lefty is twice-as-nice.
Matusz was originally in the Orioles' rotation last season, however, after injuries and Jake Arrieta not working out, he was put into the specialist role—and so went the up-and-down struggle, finishing 6-10 with a 4.67 ERA.
But he should be a good fit in Seattle, and would most likely get more of a chance to re-enter a starting role. (Baltimore will slate him in the specialist role, with only a possible chance to get starts next season).
For Smoak, it would be a chance to get back on the right-side of the baseball world, plus have an opportunity to hone in as a power hitter with the benefit of a short right field. And left.
Will it happen? I'm not certain. Both players are young: Smoak is 26 and Matusz is 25 (soon to be 26). So the move should help both teams now, and in the future.
But I sold the crystal ball for a Snuggie...then re-gifted.
Regardless of predicting this or that, in terms of Baltimore’s offseason, it will definitely bring a little of the news chain—stuck in the northern AL East—to the area.
Thus, making the perfect re-gift...for all.