OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — First baseman Justin Smoak has agreed to an $8.5 million, two-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays covering 2017-18.
Smoak is making $3.9 million this year and was eligible to become a free after this season. The 29-year-old will earn $4,125,000 annually in 2017 and ’18, and Toronto has a $6 million option for 2019 with a $250,000 buyout.
The option price would escalate to $7 million if Smoak has 950 plate appearances in 2017-18 combined, $7.5 million if he has 1,000 and $8 million if he has 1,100.
“We love Toronto, me and my family, and we wanted to stay here as long as we can,” Smoak said after the agreement was announced Saturday. “So we just wanted to get something done.”
Smoak is in his seventh season in the majors with his third team. He was the 11th overall selection in the first round of the 2008 draft by the Texas Rangers.
He batting .234 with nine home runs and 23 runs batted in this season. In seven major league seasons, he’s had a .225 batting average with 101 home runs, 316 RBIs and a .310 on-base percentage.
Smoak, by his own admission, says he hasn’t lived up to the expectations of his elite pre-draft status.
“No, not even close,” Smoak said Saturday before the game against Oakland. “I know I can be a better player. It’s all about staying consistent. That’s what you strive for every day and that’s the goal to keep working on … to be a more consistent player.”
Smoak, an everyday player with the Seattle Mariners for four seasons, has accepted being a role player with the Blue Jays.
“I know what it takes to play every day for a full season, and I also know what it takes to be a guy off the bench and be ready to help this team out,” Smoak said. “I want to play every day, that’s always the goal. But if that’s not the case, that’s not the case.
“Whatever it takes to help this team win ballgames.”
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