The San Diego Padres and outfielder Seth Smith agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $13 million on Wednesday, reports Corey Brock of MLB.com. The deal will begin next season and keep Smith in Southern California through the end of the 2016 season.
Smith, 31, joined the Padres following a pair of trades during the offseason and has quickly made himself comfortable with the team. A longtime platoon outfielder for the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics from 2008-13, he’s broken out in 2014 with some of the best hitting numbers in the National League.
Despite playing a large portion of his games in Petco Park, one of the least hitter-friendly stadiums in the game, Smith has batted .281/.384/.506 with 18 doubles, four triples and nine home runs this season. The overall production is good for a 158 OPS+, per Baseball-Reference, which means his performance is 58 percent better than the present league average.
That’s astonishingly good performance, and if Smith can keep it up over the life of the new contract, the Padres will end up with quite the bargain. Already this season, B-R says Smith has accumulated 3.0 WAR, more than he recorded in the prior three seasons combined.
Set to hit free agency at the end of the 2014 season after completing his third year of arbitration, Smith is passing up on the rare chance to hit the open market in favor of some greater security. It’s not surprising for a player in the midst of a breakout season, as the next few months could have significantly impacted his ultimate value to prospective suitors.