The Mets have a dilemma, apparent since spring training, which now needs to be dealt with. The Mets are carrying two young first baseman, both of whom could have great MLB careers, with room for only one of them on the roster.
The time has come for the Mets to trade Dominic Smith.
Yesterday, the Mets optioned Dominic Smith to Syracuse (AAA) and brought up SS Adeiny Hechavarria from Syracuse. The move makes sense, it gives the Mets more flexibility at shortstop and Smith wasn’t getting a lot of playing time anyway. (although he’s been solid in his pinch hitting role)
The Mets have only been carrying Rosario at short and he’s pretty much played every day. While his bat has been solid early in the season, for some reason his defense, usually his strength, has struggled, racking up seven errors in just 28 games this season. Last month when Rosario was ill, the Mets had to bring up Luis Guillorme to fill in.
In his limited role, Dom Smith is hitting .333 in 30 at bats this season. More than that, he’s proven to be the ultimate teammate, being supportive of starting first baseman Pete Alonso, making the transition to pull either first baseman for the other seamless and with no tension from either ballplayer. Smith’s personality and traits that make him a good teammate made him a fan favorite for the Las Vegas 51’s.
At the same time, Mets set-up man Jeurys Familia has been sitting on the 10-day Injured List, after early season struggles illustrating the dire need for help in the Mets bullpen. The Mets bullpen ERA is a whopping 5.37, 27th in MLB, only the Nationals and Orioles are worse.
Smith is only 23 years old, a solid defensive first baseman and for the first time in his career is showing some consistency at the plate in the major leagues. His value, right now, seems to be at an all time high. At the same time, Smith deserves to be at a place where he can continue to advance his career and show what he can do at the major league level and with Pete Alonso clearly looking like the Amazin’s first baseman of the future, this isn’t the place for that to happen.
Smith has had his struggles in his short career with the Mets. He’s shown his potential at the AAA level, but until this season, has struggled when brought up to the major league level. He’s grappled with weight issues and been criticized for his work ethic due to those issues. Last season Smith hit only.224 in 56 games and the year before that hit .198 in just 49 games.
However, this year, he’s been diagnosed with sleep apnea and treating that issue has solved many of his problems. In an interview with the New York Times Deesha Thosar Smith said “What I would perceive as a 103 mph fastball would actually be 95 (mph),”
Not only could Smith give a team a solid bat and defense at first base, he can help provide a level of leadership that so few players possess. At such a young age, he could be the staple of his new team’s defense for years to come.
It’s unknown what Smith’s true value is, or what he could return in terms of bullpen help, however, it’s time for the Mets to start seriously shopping him and finding out what they could get in return.