The one thing a general manager should never do is fall in love with a player to the point it clouds his judgement. This must be the case with Trader Jack Zduriencik and Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak.
I can think of few teams that would continue to put a .192 hitter in the lineup every day. He went on a brief hitting binge a few weeks ago and everyone-except me-thought he had found himself. But as usual he reverted to his true self. Recently he had home runs in back to back games, but even a broken clock is correct twice in 24 hours.
True he is only 25, but he has played in 311 games with a lifetime average of .217. Last season he hit .234 and has no chance of reaching that mark this year, indicating perhaps, he is not learning anything, can not correct the holes in his approach, or is simply out of his league.
Trader Jack saw Smoak in high school and has been high on him ever since. Jack needs rehab. Sometimes the player is not who you thought he would be. The talent was there, but not the ability to harness it, to take it to the next level.
Smoak’s statistics are comparable to such stalwarts as Dave Hostetler, Jim Traber, Doug Ault, and another Mariner, though briefly, Joe Lis. If you have never heard of these players, or even if you have, you can see the company he is in at this point in his career. Not exactly scary.
Smoak is tenth in the league in recording the most outs, which, along with his .192 average and .257 on base percentage should indicate a seat on the bench.
This year Dustin Ackley has played first, so has Mike Carp, now in Tacoma, so they can move someone there. At some point Trader Jack and Eric Wedge must realize that Smoak has turned to ashes.