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Justin Smoak expected to open the season as the Mariners’ primary first baseman

Feb 18, 2013, 7:31 PM EDT

Justin Smoak AP AP

The Mariners are coming off an active winter in which they added Michael Morse, Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay, but those moves will not have an impact on Justin Smoak‘s job security at first base. At least not immediately.

According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Mariners manager Eric Wedge said today that Smoak will begin the season as the primary first baseman barring “something drastic.” His reasoning is that he would prefer to stay away from making a decision based on spring training performance.

“I think you do,” he said. “Spring training is a part of it, but it’s by no means the biggest part of it as far as I’m concerned. You’ve got to look at everything. With guys that we’ve already had, the history helps us. Because there are so many indicators, both good and bad, that you can work off of.”

While it’s true that too much can be made from the small sample of spring training games, it can also be argued that Smoak has already had his fair share of chances. The 26-year-old owns a lousy .223/.306/.377 batting line over his first three seasons in the majors. Still, the Mariners appear intrigued by his strong finish last season, especially with the fences moving in at Safeco Field.

Assuming the Mariners hold firm to their plan, Morales will open the season as the primary DH while Morse will play left field, Michael Saunders will start in right and Ibanez will bounce around a bit. Of course, that dynamic could change pretty quickly if Smoak struggles out of the gate.

  1. thebadguyswon - Feb 18, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Have fun with that.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Feb 18, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    As bad as he’s been, it does not make sense to throw away a top prospect to keep Raul Ibanez 41 year old bat in the lineup. If the kid doesn’t put up soon he will be gone, but what would be the point of rushing that decision? Give him every opportunity to show that he can be a part of the next good Mariners team.

    • thebadguyswon - Feb 18, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      Top prospect? He’s a suspect at this point man.

    • Reflex - Feb 19, 2013 at 3:15 AM

      This right here. The M’s are not going to be competitive this year although I think they will be better than people expect. I do think that if he does not pull it out this season if given a fair shake it will be time to start seeing him as a AAAA player however, and see if Montero wants a shot at first…

  3. lostsok - Feb 18, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    His adjustments looked effective down the stretch. Things were finally coming together. It’s smart of the Mariners to make it clear he has a solid chance, still. There’s still a ton of pressure, and he needs to get off to a strong start…

  4. fearthehoody - Feb 18, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    And us Mariner fans expect him in AAA in July when he’s batting .190/12/30

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