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October 28, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Justin Smoak claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays

Times file photo

Times file photo

As expected, Justin Smoak won’t be back with the Seattle Mariners next season. It became obvious at the end of the 2014 season that the team was going to move on from the switch-hitting first baseman.

But his departure came sooner than expected.

The Mariners announced on Tuesday that the Toronto Blue Jays had claimed Smoak off waivers. The M’s save $150,000 by not having to pay him a buyout for his contract.

Since Smoak was out of options, and likely not to be tendered a contract next season, the Mariners placed him on waivers for the purpose of clearing up space on the 40-man roster. The Blue Jays decided to take a chance on him.

Smoak’s time with the Mariners was five years of unmet potential with brief flashes of hope that he might be the hitter that scouts, executives and coaches believed he could be. Smoak was the centerpiece of a trade that also netted the Mariners infielder Matt Lawson and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke from the Rangers in a trade that sent all-star pitcher Cliff Lee and reliever Mark Lowe to Texas.

All four of the players acquired in that trade will be out of the organization. Lueke was traded to the Rays and Lawson was traded to the Indians and has since retired from baseball.

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