Mets Haven’t Given Dominic Smith A Chance
After this weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the New York Mets are going to have to make a decision. They will have to cut one pitcher and one position player as the team needs to bring the roster down from 28 to 26. If this was purely merit based, the answer to that conundrum would be Robinson Cano, who has only shown he’s done.
As of this moment, if it is not Cano, all signs point to Dominic Smith, and the biggest reason why is he has an option remaining, and he does not have five years of service time. As a result, he can not reject the assignment to Triple-A.
Based on the numbers so far, there isn’t much of an argument. Through 17 games, he is hitting just .182/.300/.212 with a double and three RBI. More troubling behind that 69 wRC+ is a 30.0 K%. Even if there has been some recent improvement, including his go-ahead pinch hit against the St. Louis Cardinals, he just hasn’t shown enough so far this season.
A large part of that could be attributable to how the Mets have handled him this season.
As the Mets approached Opening Day, Smith was showing his 2021 shoulder issues were behind him. Max Scherzer was commenting how Smith was showing an ability to hit balls he was never able to hit. He was red hot at the plate, and he looked poised to return to his 2020 form where we all thought he was on the verge of being a star.
As it turned out, the team first looked to get Cano going. Even after he had a PED suspension costing him the 2021 season, they rewarded him with the Opening Day start. Smith would have to stay on the bench. He would actually be the last Mets player on the roster to get an at-bat and a start in the season.
Nearly a full month into the season, Smith has only started on back-to-back days just once. While having good numbers against left-handed pitching, better than Pete Alonso, he is benched against left-handed pitchers. Really, this is the story of his entire Mets career.
Heading into the 2018 season, the Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez to block Smith. When Gonzalez didn’t work, they went to Wilmer Flores. They never gave him an opportunity to compete with Alonso for the first base job. Time and again, the Mets just go out of their way to find excuses to not play Smith, and then when he doesn’t succeed in a tough situation, they act like they’re justified pretending like he didn’t thrive with extended playing time in 2019 and 2020.
All-in-all, Smith hasn’t performed this season. Certainly, there is blame on his shoulders for not taking advantage of his limited opportunities. That said, sooner or later, the Mets need to put him in a position where he can thrive and be an everyday player because Smith has shown he isn’t just an everyday player but a good one at that.