The Toronto Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with first baseman Justin Smoak, as according to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports on Wednesday evening.
It is said that the 28-year-old has signed for a total of $3.9 million for the upcoming season. As of now, the club has confirmed the agreement.
Smoak was claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners back on October 29th, 2014, once the status of the switch-hitter went up in the air after continuous struggles led to a downward spiral.
With this deal in place, it is entirely possible that Smoak could be competing for the starting job at the corner in 2016.
Smoak started off slow in Toronto as he was getting use to his new coaches, teammates and turf within the ballpark, but he turned things around rather fast and ended up putting together a bounce back season with the Jays.
Smoak ended his successful 2015 season with a slashline of .226/.299/.470 alongside 18 home runs and 59 RBI's. At this point in time, he could quickly become a Gold Glove caliber first baseman if his defense continues to play like it did this season.
Over the course of the past season, Smoak was projected to earn at least $2 million, as MLBTradeRumors estimated, but ended up with $1 million in the end. In 2014, he was on pace to earn $2.638 million from the Blue Jays as he was working his value back up.
Smoak would be splitting time with both Edwin Encarnacion and Chris Colabello, who said himself he would love to play in Toronto for the remainder of his career. As noted by MLBTradeRumors, the two combined to hit 33 home runs with 113 RBIs in 2015, as they both showed power and were big contributors throughout the season.
With the deadline just hours away, the club still has decisions to make as he was just one out of the 10 eligible for salary arbitration this offseason. Those who get non-tendered will then became free agents.
At this time last year, Smoak was non-tendered by Toronto but quickly brought back as the organization looked to sign him to a new contract for the season.
Over the course of Smoak's six-year major league career, he owns a slashline of .224/.308/.699 with 92 home runs and 293 RBIs. Smoak, who is a former top prospect, has made appearances at the big league level with the Mariners, Blue Jays and Texas Rangers.