The Mets and his detractors can point to all the things Dominic Smith isn’t. But the man was born to hit a baseball, and that should outweigh any trade talk…
The Mets will tell us they do not have a position for Dominic Smith. They’ll point to the fact Smith is a work in progress in the outfield. He lacks speed on the basepaths, and so on.
But one thing the Mets can’t say is Dominic Smith is not a major league hitter, who is in the early stages of becoming an even better hitter.
Mets: Take another look before you leap
Smith is trade bait as one of the team’s few pieces the Mets have who can demand the attention of teams interested in acquiring him. That’s understandable as a reason why the Mets dangle Smith out there.
What is not understandable, though, is the Mets would part with the only batter in their lineup who can hit .300 for the team – other than Jeff McNeil.
Beleagured by injury most of the 2019 season, Smith appeared in only 89 games while amassing less than 200 at-bats for the Mets.
However, before going down with an injury, Smith was a .304 hitter with – get this – a .889 OPS, which is well over a hundred points better than the major league average.
So, the question before the Mets is this. Let’s assume the opportunity is only there for Dominic Smith to play another half-season, not due to injury but to the crunch of squeezing him into a position on the field.
Why would the Mets not opt for a repeat of Smith’s first half last year, and possibly more?
Pete Alonso looked like the last rose on the bush when he dragged himself off the field in the Met’s final game last season.
He was entirely spent, and it will happen again unless Carlos Beltran intervenes, providing Alonso with adequate rest.
The Mets 2020 interleague schedule includes the Astros, Mariners, and Angels – prime time for Pete Alonso to DH and Smith to play first base.
In left field, there will be ample opportunities for Beltran to insert Smith as an alternate for J.D. Smith, who himself is on the trade block.
As for Yoenis Cespedes, I’ll believe it when I see him on the field playing in three consecutive games, and four the next week.
In the words of Jon Bon Jovi, “You gotta hold on to what you got.”
And while the Mets appear to be perilously close to dealing Smith, there should be a governor somewhere along the line to arrest the move.
You gotta hold on to what you got
Smith is a player who has grown up in the Mets organization over seven seasons in their minor league system.
Told to get rid of the baby fat he was carrying, he did. Determined to take a new glove into the outfield to learn a new position, he did.
And told to grab a bat in the final game of the 2019 season as the Mets were trying to put a cap on their second-half uprising – Dominic Smith did.
As a pinch hitter in his first at-bat since July, Smith responded in thunderous and explosive fashion by hitting a walk-off home run to send the Mets and their fans home with a thrill to carry them forward into the upcoming season.
I’ll throw another cliche in there – a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The Mets have team-control of Smith until 2025 when he reaches free-agent status. His first year of arbitration won’t come until 2022.
Dominic Smith is a keeper if only to satisfy the scrimpy pockets of the Mets to feed him. But don’t ever forget – the man with no position can hit the hell out of a baseball.