Smoak’s slash line is not particularly impressive as his 2014 campaign has produced .211/.283/.366 thus far, all of which are career lows with the Mariners. He remains the first baseman because he is regarded as a good defender and because the Mariners do not necessarily have a lot of other options at this point.
A few other statistics on Smoak that stick out:
Batting average at home: .167
As #4 hitter: .195
As #5 hitter: .171
As #6 hitter: .300
As #7 hitter: .316
Obviously the Mariners want Justin Smoak to reach his full potential and be a productive hitter for the team. Unfortunately, this may be the ceiling of his ability.
At 27, Smoak is no longer a young prospect. He has been around the league for a few years and he currently has a .225 career average. Given the production that is often expected from first base, this is not acceptable.
This is not to suggest that the Mariners needs to make a drastic change right now, but it may be prudent to drop Smoak down in the lineup and accept that he is not going to hit for average or a notable amount of power. After 2014, the Mariners may need to just let him go or buy out his contract if he gets the requisite plate appearances to kick in the 2015 option.
Justin Smoak has shown signs of greatness from time to time, but those events rarely last. In addition, they too often occur in spring training rather than during the regular season.
Yes, this may be the last run of the Smoakamotive. Unless he starts swinging a very hot bat in the second half of the season, Justin Smoak may be riding out of town after this year.