The San Diego Padres have signed outfielder Seth Smith to a two-year, $13 million contract extension, the team announced today. The extension includes a club option for the 2017 season.
Smith had been involved in many trade rumors. The Padres are looking to sell for the future and Smith, entering the final year of his contract, was not likely to return after the season. This made him a big trade target for teams looking to add one more player to take themselves deep into the postseason. But now, with the extension, it looks like Smith will more than likely stay in San Diego for this season and beyond.
Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday that the Padres were getting some offers for Smith and fellow outfielder Chris Denorfia, but they were not the most wanted players on the team. That status belonged to Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit. It is possible that the Padres felt that if they could not get a good return for Smith anyway, they may as well signed him to an extension.
Regardless, this makes the outfield trade candidates even more valuable, boosting the stock of Denorfia and others, considering the fact that Smith will not remain on the open market. The extension with Smith is definitely something to keep note of as outfielders get moved at the trade deadline. It could really mean a lot to what teams get in return.
The Padres acquired Smith this offseason from the Oakland Athletics in the deal that sent Luke Gregerson across the country. He is being paid $4.5 million from the team this year, as this was his last arbitration season. Now, he will make $6 million next year, $6.75 million in 2016, and could make $7 million in 2017 with a $250,000 buyout, guaranteeing Smith a total of $13 million.
The $4.5 million Smith has earned this year has been well-deserving. In terms of OPS+, Smith has had the best season of his career, posting a .281/.384/.506 triple-slash line with nine homers and 25 runs batted in. If there was ever a time to sell Smith, it would be now, as his stock is higher than ever. The lefty has a 2.2 fWAR, posting the highest fWAR of his career, coming in only 72 games.
Over his career, Smith has a .266/.346/.461 triple-slash line while averaging 17 home runs and 60 runs batted in every 162 games. He has a 113 career OPS+ and has proven to be an average defender metrics-wise, posting a career 4.7 UZR. Overall, Smith has been worth 9.9 fWAR.
The main question on Smith's extension is, does it really make sense? The Padres' postseason chances are bleak this year and if they decide to sell, they could be bleak during the remainder of Smith's contract. It has been an interesting season for the Padres' front office thus far, as they have fired their general manager in Josh Byrnes and are looking to sell at the trade deadline. But this deal does not look like a deal for a selling team.