This was no surprise. Veteran outfielder Seth Smith figured he was headed out of San Diego in the days prior to Tuesday’s deal that sent him to the Mariners for reliever Brandon Maurer.
Smith watched the Padres, under new general manager A.J. Preller, overhaul the club’s outfield in recent weeks through trades that netted Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and Justin Upton.
“Obviously, I paid attention to what the Padres were doing,” Smith said Wednesday in a conference call from his home near Jackson, Mississippi. “A lot of times, you can put two and two together.
“You never know what’s going to happen, but you can give yourself a pretty good idea of what may happen.”
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What likely happens now is Smith, an eight-year veteran, will become the left-handed portion of a platoon in right field for the Mariners. His partner figures to be Justin Ruggiano, another offseason acquisition.
“I’d like to think that anything I’m asked to do, I’ll be able to figure out a way to do it.” Smith said. “If it’s being an everyday player, I would come to the park … do my work and try to do the best that I could.
“If they ask me to be a guy who doesn’t play every day but plays a lot, that’s what I would try to do. … Ultimately, it’s up to them (to decide) what they want to do with me. I’m going to embrace whatever role I’m given.”
Smith’s career left/right splits point to a likely platoon role.
His slash numbers (batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage) against right-handed pitchers are .277/.358/.481. Against lefties, they drop to .205/.291/.314.
The Mariners control Smith, 32, for the next two seasons and hold an club option for 2017. He will make $6 million in 2015 and $6.75 million in 2016. The 2017 option is for $7 million with a $250,000 buy-out clause.
“One of the things we tried to stay away from,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said, “was giving up talent for one-year returns. … I think you’re getting a player who can be with you for at least the next three years.”
Smith knows the Mariners and is no stranger to Safeco Field after spending 2012 and 2013 with Oakland.
“We never liked playing them when I was with Oakland,” he said. “You’ve got a pitching staff like that, and some young position players. You add the guys they’ve gotten recently. … We’re going to be a good team.
“It’s definitely exciting when you go to a team that’s headed in the right direction.”
Smith also seems a good fit at Safeco, where he has a .291/.361/.436 slash in 16 career games at a park often viewed as being tough on hitters.
“You either embrace it and kind of go after it,” he said, “or you can let it beat you before you even step in the box. I’ve always taken the approach that I’m going to try to hit the ball hard on a line somewhere and see what happens.
“Ultimately, that’s all you can do. You’ve just got to give yourself a chance to put a good at-bat together.”
DENORFIA TO CUBS
Former Mariners outfielder Chris Denorfia reached agreement on a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs for $2.5 million.
In effect, Denorfia replaces Ruggiano as a right-handed option in the Cubs’ outfield. The Mariners acquired Ruggiano from the Cubs in a Dec. 17 trade for minor-league reliever Matt Brazis.
Coincidentally (or not), industry estimates project Ruggiano, who is eligible for arbitration, will get roughly $2.5 million for next season.
Denorfia, 34, became a free agent after batting just .195 last season in 32 games for the Mariners following a July 31 trade that brought him from San Diego for outfielder Abraham Almonte.
A nine-year veteran with four clubs, Denorfia has a .272 career average in 705 games with a .331 on-base percentage and a .394 slugging percentage.