Jun 12, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Seth Smith (12) slides safely into home plate during the first inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Padres' Signing Seth Smith Does Not Make Sense

When the Padres’ signed outfielder Seth Smith to a two-year contract extension worth$13 million this past Wednesday, it seemed like a reasonable deal, but after a couple of days of thinking about it,  I reevaluated the terms of the deal, and it didn’t make any sense to give $6.5 million a year to a player who would be a fourth outfielder on a decent ball club.

Taking nothing way from Smith’s performance this season, on a team that is going to set a record for the worst offensive production since World War II,  his numbers are average at best, with little power and a career .266 batting average. Entering today’s game against the San Francisco Giants, he is batting .282 with nine home runs and 25 RBI, which leads in most Padres’ offensive categories.

Granted, Smith got off to a hot start, and seems to be the only Padres’ hitter whose shown any consistency throughout the year, but he he has tailed off quite a bit when he was named NL Player of the Week back in May. Ever since,  he has seen his average steadily decline below .300 and he is only batting .190 against left-handed hitters.

With the firing of GM Josh Byrnes two weeks ago, the organization is definitely looking to shake things up. Most are expecting to see Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin traded by July 31st, but it’s uncertain whether Andrew Cashner, Huston Street, and Joaquin Benoit will be with the Padres’ in August.

However, signing Smith, shows that he is staying with the club for the rest of year, and it doesn’t make any sense when the Padres’ can still get something in return for a 31-year-old player, who is having a career year by his standards.

As Dave Cameron states from Fangraphs,  “…teams will see the career numbers and limited upside just as we can, and their offers would have reflected that. But rebuilding teams need to throw as many darts as they can, because once in a while, trading away a few months of a decent but unspectacular rent-a-veteran can get something in return.”

If Smith showed consistency year-in-year out, and that he was an everyday player, it would be safe to say that the Padres’ made a good deal. However, if he reverts back to the type of player he’s been over the course of career, the Padres’ will get very little from him when they trade him next year.

Without a current, and permanent GM hired yet by the front office, it’s difficult to say if he even fits into the grand scheme of things. Cameron adds, “…rebuilding a team without a GM, extending an aging, limited player over a timeline in which they won’t win anyway, doesn’t really fit the idea that the Padres do understand that they need a new direction.”

Whichever way the fans see Smith’s signing, it’s important to look at it from where the Padres will be next year or the year after. Does Smith really play a part in the future after this contract ends?


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Tags: Editorial San Diego Padres Seth Smith

  • Joel Ayala

    I like the move from the owners. Smith is a fan favorite. And we need more of them. Smith has always had good numbers at Petco. And there’s not many players that do .. This Padres fan is glad with the signing. I expect Kennedy and Headley to be traded soon. And hopefully We get back decent prospects for either. Go SD

    • Nick619chargers4life

      I second that ! Lol go Pads .

  • ballybunion

    The point you’re missing is Smiths comment that he was assured by the ownership that they want to win – NOT rebuild. Smith has a place on a contending ballclub, and any team with a #6 overall pitching staff and a top two bullpen is a potential contending club. It doesn’t take that much hitting for a team with that kind of pitching to BE a contender.

    You must be new to following the Padres, if you think what Padres hitters have been doing will continue all year. This is the fourth year in a row the team has gotten off to a horrible start, and the hitting has been the main reason, finally kicking it into gear the last 2-3 months of the season to look respectable. There’s no guarantee at all that the Padres will set any record of batting futility, based on early performance of several players who were battling nagging injuries.

    This year looks like a replay, except the Padres aren’t as bad as they were the last three years, thanks to that competitive pitching staff, and though it’s an uphill climb, they still have a chance for that second wildcard. How much the hitting improves will make the difference, and the uptick in hits and runs since June 18th, along with exceptional starting pitching, makes the Seth Smith extension not puzzling at all.