The Baltimore Orioles have shown interest in acquiring first baseman Justin Smoak from the Seattle Mariners, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
With Kendrys Morales now a Mariner after a gutsy deal with the division rival Angels for left-hander Jason Vargas, Smoak could be moved.
According to a major league source, the Orioles are said to have some interest.
While it was rumored a few days ago that Smoak could be "an interesting option" for the Orioles at first base, this is the first indication that Baltimore has a legitimate interest him.
With Morales -- and now Raul Ibanez -- on the roster, the Mariners have several options at designated hitter and first base, making Smoak very expendable. Seattle could ask for some bullpen help -- which the Orioles have in droves -- in return for the first baseman, but the Mariners' more pressing need is a starting pitcher. Baltimore does has several young pitchers -- like Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton -- but they have struggled to really break through and it is unclear whether the Orioles are willing to ship any of them away just yet.
Once regarded as a top prospect, the 26-year-old Smoak has struggled his way through his first three big league seasons. The switch-hitter has batted just .223/.306/.377 with 47 home runs in 355 games, failing to replicate the minor-league power numbers that made him a big part of the Rangers/Mariners Cliff Lee trade in 2010.