The Blue Jays have claimed first baseman Justin Smoak off waivers from the Mariners, according to an announcement from the team. Rumors have been swirling that Seattle would be willing to part with Smoak this winter, and they decided to put him on outright waivers at the beginning of the offseason in hopes of clearing a 40-man roster spot for potential additions.
Smoak, who turns 28 in December, hit only .202/.275/.339 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in 80 games this season, his fifth in Seattle. He was originally acquired by the Mariners as the key piece in the Cliff Lee deal back in 2010, but has struggled to hit for average and lost his starting job to Logan Morrison in 2014. For his Mariners career, Smoak hit .226/.308/.384 with 66 home runs and 200 RBI in 496 games.
For the Blue Jays, the addition of Smoak means that they are very likely to part ways with veteran Adam Lind, who has been the subject of trade rumors in recent days. The Jays hold a $7.5 million option on Lind for next season, but are considered likely to try to trade him in the next few days in an effort to get some value back. Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently wrote that the first significant trade of the offseason is likely to be one involving Lind, listing the Athletics, and coincidentally, the Mariners as two of the potentially interested clubs.