Holy Smoaks, nobody could have predicted the offensive damage that Justin Smoak was going to inflict on opposition pitching coming into the 2017 campaign.
I will the be the first to admit I may have errored in doubting the slugger and the Jays brain trust decision to extend Justin Smoak last season to a two-year $8.5 million dollar pact. The extension also includes a $6 million dollar team option with a $250,000 buyout for 2019.
So in saying that I offer my sincere apologies to Smoak, Mark Shapiro, Ross Atkins and anyone else who was responsible for locking up the first baseman last season. I was definitely ready to anoint Rowdy Tellez or anyone not named Justin the starting first baseman coming out of spring training.
Perhaps I will stick to crime-fighting and leave the baseball operation decisions to the boys in the expensive suits. Full disclosure, I also may have authored a few offseason articles on possible replacements for the first-baseman.
"Blue Jays first base options not named Justin Smoak"
Smoak boasts a .288 batting average with 34 runs batted in 50 games this season. The slugger has also hit a team-leading 12 home runs which ranks 6th in the American League. The 30-year old could end up being the bargain of the season if he continues to launch line drives out of the yard at his current pace.
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The South Carolina native has managed to prove his doubters wrong and there were many, rebounding from his terrible 2016 campaign where he struggled mightily at the dish all season long. Last season Smoak hit .217 while striking out 112 times in 341 plate appearances.
So from the bottom of my baseball loving heart, thank you, Justin Smoak, for proving myself and Blue Jays nation wrong, we will never doubt you and your ball mashing abilities again. Please accept my apology and realize I will never speak negatively of you again.
Sincerely, Reformed Justin Smoak fan