Smoak agrees to $2.63M deal, avoids arbitration
Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a club option for a second year on Saturday, thus avoiding an upcoming arbitration hearing that would have determined his 2014 salary.
Smoak was the last of the Mariners’ arbitration-eligible players to come to terms. His arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday, but the two sides came to their agreement four days before that deadline.
No Mariners player has gone all the way to an arbitration hearing since pitcher Freddy Garcia in 2003.
According to USA Today, Smoak’s deal will pay $2.63 million for 2014. If he accumulates 525 plate appearances this season, the 2015 option kicks in at $3.65 million, with a $150,000 buyout clause.
Smoak had asked for $3.25 million for 2014 when each side filed numbers in the case last month, while the Mariners countered with an offer of $2.025 million.
Smoak, 27, hit .238 with 50 RBIs and a career-high 20 home runs last season, despite being placed on the 15-day disabled list in June with a right oblique strain. He hit 17 of those homers in his final 85 games after coming off the DL on June 18.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder played in 131 games last year and led the team with 30 two-out RBIs, while also ranking fifth among AL first baseman with a .995 fielding percentage.
His .334 on-base percentage and .412 slugging percentage were both the best of his career.
Smoak is in his first year of arbitration eligibility. If the Mariners exercise the 2015 option, he’ll then have one more season of arbitration before becoming a free agent in 2017.