Blue Jays to pick up Justin Smoak’s option for 2019
An easy no-brainer, it appears as though the Blue Jays are going to keep Smoak around for another year.
According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Blue Jays are going to pick up Justin Smoak‘s $8 million team option for the 2019 season. Jon Heyman of Fancred also noted on Twitter that the Blue Jays are indeed picking up the option.
If ever there was a no-brainer in baseball, it’s this one. Smoak, 31, had a solid 2018 season, slashing a respectable .242/.350/.457 with 25 home runs, 77 RBI, 34 doubles and 67 runs scored. All in all, he was worth 2.3 WAR, good enough for second on the team, according to Baseball Reference.
In 2017, Smoak had a career year, smashing 38 home runs and earning his first career All-Star nod, adding 90 RBI, 29 doubles and a slash of .270/.355/.529. Though he struggled in his first two seasons with the Jays (cumulative slash of .222/.306/.430), he turned himself around admirably and has since become the best consistent hitter in the Jays lineup.
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Many have suggested that the Blue Jays will flip Smoak at the deadline should he continue his solid production at the plate. Otherwise, the team will most likely count their losses and simply play him out the rest of the season.
However, it looks unlikely that he’ll return to his pre-2017 form. His bat has never looked better, and although he’s unlikely to win, he was just nominated for a Gold Glove Award due to his excellent defence at first base.
It’s also possible that Smoak’s option was picked up in part due to his veteran presence. He could, in one scenario, slot behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the lineup in order to provide him with some “protection” in the order. If not, he could remain as a middle of the order bat for the rest of the season.
Regardless, this seemed like a move we could’ve all seen coming, but it’s still good to know that “Smoakey”, a genuinely good ballplayer and leader in the clubhouse, will stick around for at least another half-season.