PEORIA, AZ - MARCH 04: Justin Smoak #17 of the Seattle Mariners his a single against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of the spring training game at Peoria Stadium on March 4, 2011 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Justin Smoak
In yet another Rangers' series loss, this time to the last-place Seattle Mariners, first baseman Justin Smoak was a big player in seeing to it that the Rangers slipped out of first place again after the Angels smoked the Red Sox.
Smoak, a 25-year-old, who was dealt to Seattle from Texas last summer in order to acquire Cliff Lee, went 7-for-12 in the series with a home run, two doubles, three RBIs and a run scored.
This season, Smoak has his average up to .315 with 5 homers and 20 RBIs in 26 games. What we knew about Smoak from his early days in Texas was that he had a great deal of discipline at the plate, and that's showing this year with his .410 on-base percentage.
Of course, Smoak has easily surpassed Chris Davis on the first baseman prospect list, but the Rangers seem to have found their first baseman of the future in Mitch Moreland, who's hitting .278 with a .369 on-base percentage, four homers and 11 RBIs hitting in the bottom part of the Rangers order.
So would the Rangers love to have Smoak right now? Probably so. But Moreland appears to have "it" and there's no doubt the Rangers wouldn't trade Lee's brief tenure in Arlington for much of anything after what he did for this city in October.
Three masterpieces in the postseason led the Rangers to the World Series and created a winning environment in Arlington, which hadn't existed in more than a decade, and even then it was nothing like it is now.