If there's an MLB team with no general manager in July, does it make any moves?
The San Diego Padres answered that hypothetical Wednesday, agreeing to a two-year contract extension worth almost $13 million with outfielder Seth Smith. The extension comes with a club option for a third year in San Diego and was announced by Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler.
There has been some question about how active the Padres (36-48) would be as the trade deadline approaches. They've got a number of parts that might interest contenders, but the Pads are without a general manager at the moment, after recently firing Josh Byrnes. But the Padres are a team that has won two games this season while getting only one hit. They defy convention.
The signing of Smith — who had been rumored as a trade chip — proves the Padres aren't just going to stand pat completely. There have also been rumors about the team moving relief pitchers Joaquin Benoit and Huston Street, in addition to oft-mentioned trade chips such as pitcher Ian Kennedy and third baseman Chase Headley.
The Padres obviously like Smith, who they acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics in December. As MLB.com's Corey Brock notes above, Smith can stay in San Diego one more year on a club option if the Padres continue to like him. It's also a team-friendly contract that the Padres should be able to trade if they find themselves in a similar situation next season (and they probably will).
Smith, 31, wasn't an everyday player in Oakland, platooning mostly to face right-handed pitchers, but the Padres are giving him more playing time and he's been stellar for them. He's hitting .281/.384/.506 with nine homers, the best batting average on the hitting-dismal Padres, who are last in the league with a .213 team average.
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