Chicago White Sox should target Justin Smoak
The Chicago White Sox have an opening at first base this offseason and Justin Smoak should be a player they look at seriously.
Smoak, 32, did not have a great season in 2019 by any means as he hit .208/.342/.406 with 22 home runs and 61 RBI. That gave him a 101 wRC+ and 0.2 fWAR.
His defense was mediocre too as he had -3 DRS and a -2.0 UZR in 772 innings at the position, according to FanGraphs.
That being said, Smoak dealt with a quad injury in June that probably did not help the situation as he hit .194/.318/.388 with eight homers and 24 RBI after the All-Star break as compared to hitting .217/.358/.418 with 14 homers and 37 RBI in the first half.
Furthermore, Smoak had an extremely low BABIP (.223) in 2019, which suggests that he had very bad luck this season on balls he put in play.
A BABIP that low would suggest that he’s likely to return to a more stable number as he had in 2018 (.297).
During that season, Smoak hit .242/.350/.457 with 25 homers and 77 RBI to give himself a 121 wRC+ and 1.7 fWAR.
With all of that being said, Smoak is likely to come at a discount this offseason, which could make him a bargain. He likely would command no more than a one or two-year deal at $8 million per year.
The switch-hitting first baseman also could provide the lineup with a much-needed left-handed bat in the lineup, with Yoan Moncada (switch-hitter) currently representing the only other one.
Smoak’s addition doesn’t necessarily have to mark the end of Jose Abreu‘s tenure with the team, either.
With the luxury of a DH in the AL, having another first base option could give Abreu the proper rest he needs from the field as he gets ready to enter his age-33 season as Smoak will too.
Neither one should be playing the field every day at this point and a nice first base/designated hitter platoon could work very smoothly for both.
While Justin Smoak isn’t the most appealing name on the free-agent market, the Chicago White Sox should be looking into signing the first baseman this offseason.