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Justin Smoak Clears Trade Waivers

According to a Joel Sherman report in the New York Post, Justin Smoak has cleared trade waivers.

This hasn’t been the best year for first basemen in the American League. The 31-year-old Smoak currently leads all qualified AL 1B a 126 wRC+ and is hitting .257/.363/.465 in 2018. Last year, that 126 mark wouldn’t have even ranked him in the top five at his position.

I wouldn’t imagine a better time to trade him, because as Sherman notes, the banged up Yankees are in need of more offence and would love to upgrade their 1B spot that has boasted the likes of uh, Greg Bird, Neil Walker, and Tyler Austin this season. Judging by how bad the position has been this year across the whole league and Smoak’s 2019 $6 Million Dollar option, the Blue Jays will be looking to get something decent for him in a trade.

This is all just Sherman thinking out loud, and not reporting that the Yankees are in on him, by the way. It’s just something that would make sense.

The Blue Jays front office took heat from fans when they signed Smoak to that two-year, $8.5 million deal in 2016, but it’s turned out to be an incredible value play for them. As we know, he hit 38 home runs last season, and even though he ran out of gas in September, still hit .270/.355/.529 across his 158 games. By following it up with a strong 2018 campaign, the Blue Jays have a valuable asset to trade, even if fans might not want to stomach him potentially being a major factor on a Yankees playoff team.

      • Peter Gowdy

        I would like to get technical! The option is specifically for $8 million (after 1100 PAs through 2107-2018, which he will surpass Tuesday). Subtracting the buyout amount from an option amount is a way for the team to think about exercising the option or not exercising the option. If we keep him we pay him eight mil, if we don’t we pay him $250K. In no universe are the two figures netted out. The option IS $8 million.

        • The Humungus

          Justin Smoak has had 1128 PA’s in the 2017/2018 seasons combined (as per MLB.com). So, he HAS surpassed the threshold for the option to become $8M for next year.

          The Option is worth $7,750,000, technically, because he is already guaranteed $250,000 on next year’s budget. So, the team has to pay him $250,000 regardless, but has the OPTION of keeping him for an additional $7,750,000. That’s how this works.

          • The Humungus

            Right Peter.

            And the “option” the Blue Jays have is whether or not they think his production is worth the additional $7,750,000 cost of picking up the contract for 2019.

            This isn’t hard, man. The contract is worth $8.5M two years, with a total value of $16.25M if they pick up the option given that he’s hit both his escalators.

            Any way you slice it, the option increases the value of the contract by $7,750,000. It’s pretty simple math.

          • Peter Gowdy

            That is not how this works. The club has an $8 million option. If they exercise it, they have to pay Smoak $8 million dollars. If they don’t, they pay Smoak $250K. That’s it. The Jays’ accountants might look at it a different way for budgeting purposes, but that does not change the number.

          • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

            Ok Peter. You are being ridiculous. The numbers the way Humungus describes them are exact and work! Enough already. Can we move on to more interesting topics? Why does Atkins talk gibberish all the time? Will Pillar be around next season? If not who replaces him long term? Grichuk? Alford? Someone in Lansing? Was Ozark a grest netflix series? Will the Rockford files ever be redone ala Hawaii 5-0? What about Quincy? Who would make a great Quincy? You know things like that. Anyone else, love to hear your thoughts and new questions

          • The Humungus

            Yes. The option year is worth $8M, $250k of which is guaranteed regardless. So, the value of the option is $7.75M, which is the difference between the amount guaranteed by the original contract and the amount Smoak will make if the option is picked up.

  • Kristen Sprague

    Another reason why I call BS on Jays not wanting to qualify JD. Smoak is marketable and you can probably get a good return for him. JD can be rotated at 3B, 1B , DH and even occasionally SS. He’s not going to block Vladdy next year if you really want Vladdy to play 3B

    • Steve-O

      Agreed.

      And frankly, they could just as easily rotate Smoak, Dosh, Vladdy and Morales between 3B/1B/DH (with Morales the odd-man out spending more time on the bench than the other three) in 2019 if they wanted to, and then deciding what to do with Smoak and Donaldson at the deadline next year if things go badly.

      I wonder if this is all part of a negotiation ploy around trying to get Dosh to agree to, say, longer term (2-3 years) at a lower rate? Probably not, a one-year QO still seems like the most likely outcome, but the idea of letting him walk for nothing seems highly out of character for the Jays from an asset management perspective.

      • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

        I can’t see the Jays wanting JD for multiple years. I really think the rapid decline of Bautista may have tarnished older players and multiple year contracts with the FO. Just a thought no proof, but I wonder. And by this I mean the expensive contracts, not something like the last one Smoak signed. I’m sure if JD were open to that, they would lock him up in a heart beat.
        You also have to wonder about ego a bit. Do you think JD would accept anything less than a QO? He might even be glad they did not offer one, or reject it, believing he can go out and land something lucrative. I’m not sure how he would explain the optics with the injuries, but who knows.
        Still, I wonder if the Jays are just ready to bite the bullet, in terms of asset management, and just move on. With the glut of infielders, and Vlad coming, they might be willing to see how things work out. I think the best case scenario is JD gets back on the field, hits a few home runs quickly, they find a trade partner an hopefully get a lottery pick that is close in value to what they would have gotten if he rejected the QO.
        Time will tell…..

        • Steve-O

          Well, I don’t see him coming back before the end of August to hit a few dingers and salvage any kind of trade, so if we eliminate that scenario, we are left with:

          Option 1. He declines the QO (and the Jays get a comp pick) or,
          Option 2. He accepts the QO and the Jays hope he produces enough to extract a Machado-like return at the 2019 trade deadline for the cost of around $9M – or he doesn’t and the Jays are out $18M.

          As an aside, figuring out the value of the players the Orioles got in that trade is tricky, but this is interesting: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/valuing-the-2017-top-100-prospects/

          What this is saying, *I think*, is that a top 100 prospect is theoretically worth more than the $9M the Jays would pay Dosh, and if they ate the full amount to get an even better prospect they could still come out way ahead.

          Option 3. No QO offered, he walks and the Jays get nothing.

          I had a long back-and forth with our old buddy Stoeten on the twitter about this, he seems to think the FO is less inclined to pay $18M in the hope they acquire a Machado package, and may be better served using that money elsewhere. I’m unconvinced – I think that’s just bad asset management. But maybe you’re both right, I dunno.

          • Steve-O

            You’re probably right about not wanting Dosh for multiple years. That was me just doing some wishful thinking. Because a healthy Josh Donaldson is fucking awesome.

          • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

            I don’t see him getting a Machado like return because of his age. He would literally need to be having an MVP type season, and with two serious calve injuries, and the shoulder this year, time may be taking it’s toll. That being said, one thing no one has mentioned is what Rogers may wish for behind the scenes. They may want to cut payroll next year. If it’s that cut and dry with them….and it’s Rogers, so it may be a thing, then letting JD go is a no brainer. That being said, if Rogers is not involved, and based on Bumble fuck Eddies tweet last week supporting Shapiro, I cannot imagine why anyone would think they were involved, it comes back to JD with the injuries and being older. They didn’t really tackle EE seriously. Why was that? Was it because he was a bit older? Do you think they offered the contract, hoping he would decline. Sure seems like they moved on from EE so fast and into the cheaper arms of Morales. Both the same age, but one significantly cheaper than the other, and came at shorter term. Stoeten may be right, if the $18,000,000 is available for the FO to use. But I really wonder what is going on in the background, and how they sell the Rebuild to Rogers, who got used to getting drunk on the gravy train. So yeah, really who knows……I guess it just leaves for great bantering on this site.

    • Peter Gowdy

      No, the buyout isn’t a guaranteed part of the option. The buyout is what the Jays must pay if they opt NOT to exercise the option. This is really simple and I don’t know why you all (except the wonderfully smart Eddie!) don’t get it. I’m happy to continue to set you straight. 🙂

      • The Humungus

        The buyout is part of the guaranteed contract.

        The option increases the contract by 1 season and $7,750,000.

        Literally every team in baseball accounts for future salary commitments this way. This is standard business practice.

        Justin Smoak gets $250,000 if the option is not exercised, $8,000,000 if it is. That means the VALUE of the commitment is $7,750,000.

        This is very simple math, and very standard budgeting. When you project cash flows for budgeting, you prepare multiple scenarios that involve each possible, then evaluate the likelihood of each before determining the likeliest scenario.

        To summarize:

        As of right now, the Jays (or whomever the trade Smoak to) owe him $250,000 on the 2019 budget.

        If the option is picked up, then the Jays (or again, whomever they trade Smoak to) owe him $8,000,000 on the 2019 budget.

        Therefore, the VALUE of the option is $7,750,000, which is the difference to both the team and the player between the option being picked up or declined.

        So, the decision is whether or not they believe that Justin Smoak is going to produce at a level that will make the additional $7,750,000 cost worthwhile to the team.

        • Nice Guy Eddie

          What I like most about Sparky is his username. Either he doesn’t understand the use of apostrophes in designating possession, or else he thinks there are a number of Paul Beestons.

          • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

            Ah dumb ass, how awful to hear from you again. Amazingly, there is nothing to like about you in the least troll. You are ignorant, and severely lacking..in pretty much everything. Trolling and being obnoxious is obviosly the high point of your life. It’s a pity that you’d rather aggravate than add to a conversation. But it’s you. Momma didn’t expect much, so now the rest of us have to deal with your issues, as you attempt to somehow gain control of something by hiding behind a computer and making the rest of us pay because you were belittled as a child and continue to be socially shunned by I would guess everyone. Your personality has fragmented into Ad, Nice Turd Eddie and now Sparky. Who knows how many other voices are in that little brain of yours. But hey so long as you and your voices feel good about yourself well why bother giving the rest of us a break and go back to your dark room and talk with other trolls whom I’m sure love and appreciate you for you! The worst part is, my reply will validate some part of your pea brain and now I await your amazing, well thought out and intelligent response. Oh wait its you. It will be typed through the slobbering lense of your personalities, with the goal of trying to make yourself look good. But step back Fast Eddie, Sparky, Turd brain or whichever personality is present. Save yourself the embarassment of lashing out and go quietly into your room and troll somewhere else. You will be happy and ahead of the game…sigh..but no…here comes your retort..as lacking as I’m sure it will be.

  • Peter Gowdy

    It is no surprise that Smoak has cleared waivers. Almost every player in the league has cleared waivers at this point in August. Sherman’s post in The New York Post is just Yankee spitballin’, as they really don’t need another bat. And my God, why would the Jays entertain offers on Smoak anyway? He’s still a total steal at $8 million for next year. Just because some Yankee writer thinks they might want to grab Smoak doesn’t mean it is a good idea for the Blue Jays to consider.
    It is fascinating to see the stats as you stated about the wRC+ of AL first basemen this year and last. It is weird to see as you noted that Smoak’s current value of 126 would not have cracked the top 5 in the AL in 2017, but it is the top mark in the wRC+ category for this year’s AL first basemen! I think it is unfair of you to suggest this isn’t his best year, while it is accurate, it is by far his second-best ever season in his career. It’s interesting to note that while Smokey has top marks in the AL so far this year for wRC+, 6 qualified NL first basemen have a better mark than Smoak. It is also interesting to note that none of those 6 is Eric Hosmer!

    • Steve-O

      Is it really no surprise he cleared? Given he has outperformed all other first basemen, is having a solid season. and is on such a team-friendly contract, I’m actually quite surprised no one made a claim.

      Good for the Jays, I suppose. And I’m happy he’s still around!