Mariners trade rumors: Justin Smoak could be dealt, Orioles have interest

Thearon W. Henderson

Following the recent acquisition of Kendrys Morales, Seattle could deal their former top-prospect.

Baseball's offseason is about halfway over. The Mariners have been a pretty active club so far, and their deal for slugger Kendrys Morales sent waves throughout the league.

Now, with Morales in the fold, rumors have come that general manager Jack Zduriencik could be open to trading first baseman Justin Smoak if the right deal comes along. Smoak, 26, has failed to live up to expectations since being touted a top-prospect a few seasons ago, although he's shown flashes of being a star during his first three seasons in the big leagues. Here is Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe with the latest.

8. Justin Smoak, 1B, Mariners - With Kendrys Morales now a Mariner after a gutsy deal with the division rival Angels for lefthander Jason Vargas, Smoak could be moved. According to a major league source, the Orioles are said to have some interest. The Orioles also have been linked, along with the Red Sox and Nationals, to Adam LaRoche, but the Sox and Orioles are hesitant to give up a draft pick to sign him.

Smoak batted .217 with 19 home runs, 51 runs batted in and a disappointing .654 OPS in 2012. While his numbers are better away from the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field, it's a safe assessment to say Smoak is yet to live up to the hype he garnered in the minors.

It is unclear if the Mariners and Orioles are anywhere close to a deal, but it does seem the two franchises could share a mutual interest. Keep an eye on these rumors in the coming weeks as front offices reopen after the holiday break.

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