Mallex Smith was demoted by the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. In a corresponding move, the Mariners promoted Braden Bishop from Triple-A Tacoma to take Smith’s spot on the 25-man roster.
Smith missed most of Spring Training as he worked through an elbow injury and has started out the 2019 MLB season quite poorly. Through 27 games with the Mariners, Smith has a .165 batting average, a .255 on-base percentage, and just 16 hits through his first 110 plate appearances.
The intention was for Smith to become the everyday leadoff hitter for the Mariners. He struggled and got pushed down the batting order, but he was still struggling to get on base.
His defense in center field also become suspect, leading to the team sending him down to Triple-A Tacoma to work on things.
#Mariners recall OF Braden Bishop from AAA Tacoma and option OF Mallex Smith to Tacoma.
— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) April 30, 2019
Braden Bishop gets a second chance with Seattle Mariners
When the Seattle Mariners started the season with a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics, Braden Bishop traveled with the team to Japan. Bishop had just one at-bat during the series but didn’t get his first major league hit yet.
In 15 games with the Mariners in Spring Training, Bishop had an impressive slash line of .379/.419/.724 to go with three home runs and 12 RBIs. If he can continue to hit like that for the Mariners, he may find himself a permanent addition to the 25-man roster.
In 21 games with the Tacoma Rainiers, Bishop had seven doubles, three home runs, and 13 RBIs to his credit. He also drew 12 walks and posted a .356 on-base percentage.
The additional benefit to having Bishop with the team is the defense that he provides in the outfield. Some analysts are already saying that he is the best defensive player on the roster, no matter what position is being compared.
That could be a huge deal, as the Mariners have, statistically, the worst defense in all of baseball.
Mallex Smith demotion could help his future with the Mariners
The value that Mallex Smith provides with his baserunning is what could make him a future All-Star outfielder in the league. He looked to have figured things out during the 2018 MLB season when he had 40 stolen bases for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Getting back to that level of value, with close to a .300 batting average, could make him a valuable addition for the Mariners later in the 2019 season.