Justin Smoak played sparingly in the first half, but with Edwin Encarnacion settling in as the Blue Jays' designated hitter, the former Mariner got the bulk of the starts at first base in the second half. Though Smoak hit just .226, he was a serious power threat, mashing 18 home runs in only 296 at-bats. However, he was passed over for Chris Colabello in the postseason, and Smoak made a total of eight plate appearances in 11 playoff games. His power potential makes him someone to pay attention to in deeper leagues, but there is no need to draft Smoak outside of AL-only formats.
Smoak signed a one-year, $3.9 million contract with the Blue Jays on Wednesday, avoiding arbitration, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. After fizzling out with Seattle, Smoak got his career back on track in 2015, recording a career-best .768 OPS and 18 homers in 132 games. He will be rewarded with a significant raise from the $1 million he got last winter, but Smoak may need some breaks here and there to match his 328 plate appearances from last season.
Smoak is not in the lineup for Friday's ALDS matchup with the Rangers, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi. Smoak start Thursday's game at first base, but it will be Chris Colabello getting the nod there Friday with left-hander Cole Hamels on the bump for the Rangers.
Smoak is in the lineup for Game 1 of the ALDS, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports. With right-hander Yovani Gallardo set to take the mound in the opening game of the series, manager John Gibbons will opt to play his left-hander instead of Chris Colabello at first base. Smoak could be a pinch-hit candidate with Gibbons often using him in a platoon situation throughout the season, however he will likely get a few at-bats against Gallardo before that situation arises.
Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak is not in the lineup Monday against the Orioles. It appears to just be a regular day off for Smoak after starting five of the previous six games, including a span in which he collected five hits in his previous two contests. Chris Colabello will get the start at first base in his place and bat fifth.
Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak is out of the lineup Saturday against the Red Sox, Barry Davis of Sportsnet reports. Smoak gives way to Chris Colabello at first base after starting two of the previous four games at the position. The two players figure to remain in a timeshare at first base the rest of the way.