Mallex Smith may have only spent 77 minutes with the Seattle Mariners before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, but he has fond memories of his time in the Pacific Northwest.
It was a whirlwind hour and a half for Mallex Smith on January 11. First, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners, with Thomas Burrows and Luiz Gohara being sent back to the Atlanta Braves. Then, just 77 minutes later, the Mariners sent Smith to the Rays, with Drew Smyly heading back to Seattle.
However, those 77 minutes left an impression on Smith. In fact, he called that time the best of his life, citing the love he received from Mariners fans and the atmosphere at SafeCo Field. One could just feel the love and wonder that Smith still has for the Mariners and their fans, who he regretted leaving behind.
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Alas, but that time was so short! Yet, he made quite the impression there as well, becoming a beloved icon along the lines of Ken Griffey Jr and Edgar Martinez. It may just be a matter of time before his number is retired and Smith is enshrined in the Mariners Hall of Fame for his contributions on the field.
In all seriousness, Smith actually fit the mold of what the Mariners were looking to accomplish in their outfield this offseason. They were trying to become more athletic, leading to the acquisitions of players like Jarrod Dyson and Mitch Haniger, while sending players like Seth Smith elsewhere.
Yet, given the Mariners need for pitching, and relatively crowded outfield situation, Smith was expendable even before he arrived. For as much as he fit with the idea Jerry DiPoto had in mind, Smith was also the perfect Rays player. With his speed and excellent glove, he could prove to be a key piece in the outfield for years to come.
Mallex Smith did not spend much time in Seattle, but the city and team made an impression upon him. Hopefully, he can find that same enjoyment in Tampa Bay as well.