(CBS Seattle) – With the Seattle Mariners off-season acquisitions of Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez, room on the roster for first baseman Justin Smoak is slowly dwindling. And because he’s still relatively young, he’s considered a decent trade chip for Seattle.

The latest team to emerge as a potential suitor for the streaky Smoak is the Baltimore Orioles; the club’s front office is reportedly eyeing the 26-year-old power hitter. During the winter meetings, the Orioles were tied to Smoak in a preliminary deal, according to an MLB source.

Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun suggests the Mariners are in a position to move Smoak because of their excess of left-handed power and lack of starting pitching.

The Morales trade earlier this month required Seattle to send away left-handed starter Jason Vargas. Connolly argues the Orioles have a surplus of pitching and that a trade between the clubs would instantly benefit each other. On top of each teams’ needs, Smoak was a high school teammate of the Orioles star catcher Matt Weiters.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times had said earlier this week that the Mariners can’t be too aggressive with moving Smoak because Morales, who’ll likely see the most playing time at first base, is a free agent at the end of the season whereas Smoak is still under team control beyond 2013.

Smoak appeared in 132 games for the Mariners last season and struggled to be consistent. The University of South Carolina alum hit just .217, but did have a career high of 19 home runs.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )


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