NPB's Yomiuri Giants sign former MLB All-Star, IBAF World Cup MVP Justin Smoak

NPB's Yomiuri Giants sign former MLB All-Star, IBAF World Cup MVP Justin Smoak
07/01/2021
The 34-year old slugger led the US to a world title in 2009 hitting nine home runs. He made his MLB debut the year after and was selected as an American League All-Star in 2017. He will earn US$ 6 millions plus incentives.

The Nippon Professional Baseball's (NPB) Yomiuri Giants have signed former Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Justin Smoak to a guaranteed US$6 million contract plus incentives. ESPN's Jeff Passan initially reported the deal, later confirmed by MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

Smoak, born in 1986, was drafted (No. 11 overall) out of the University of South Carolina by the Texas Rangers in 2008. He represented the silver-medal winning United States in the 2007 Pan Am Games as a collegiate player and in the 2009 IBAF World Cup as a Minor League Baseball (MiLB) player. He helped the US earn their second consecutive World Title hitting nine home runs and batting in 22 runs. He was named the tournament MVP.

After making his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 2010, Smoak was traded by the Rangers to the Seattle Mariners in July the same year. He played for Seattle until he was claimed off-waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays in October 2014. He played for Toronto through the 2019 season. His best campaign was 2017, when he hit 38 home runs and was named in the American League All-Star team.

Smoak signed a one year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 2020 season. He was designated for assignment in September and moved to the San Francisco Giants on a minor league contract. He was released after two weeks.