Smoak claimed off waivers by Blue Jays
Smoak, who put up a .224/.309/.380 slash line in 566 games with Seattle, lost his starting job to Logan Morrison at midseason and didn’t appear to be part of the club’s future after batting just .202 in 80 games this past year.
The Mariners had a $3.65 million option on Smoak for next season, or could have declined that option and had him enter his final season of arbitration. Instead, they placed the former Rangers first-round Draft pick on waivers and Toronto now will have three days to exercise the same option or decide whether to enter Smoak’s final year of the arbitration process.
Smoak earned $2.63 million last season.
The move opens up a spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster as the club prepares to enter the free agency period at the conclusion of the World Series.
Smoak was acquired from the Rangers on July 9, 2010 when Seattle sent pitchers Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe to Texas in exchange for Smoak, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matt Lawson.
Smoak, the 11th overall selection in the 2009 Draft out of South Carolina, hit 74 home runs and 234 RBIs in five seasons with Seattle, including a career-best 20 homers and 64 RBIs with a .238 average in 2013. But he totaled just seven homers and 30 RBIs in 248 at-bats in 2014 and lost his job to Morrison after being sidelined in June by a strained hamstring.
Morrison hit .262 with 11 home runs and 38 RBIs in 99 appearances last year, including .321 with six homers, 21 RBIs and an .878 OPS over his final 51 games.