Dominic Smith’s struggles last season has left a big question mark at first base that the Mets will have to address this offseason
The GM Meetings kicked off in Orlando, Florida on Monday. General managers from the 30 major league clubs were on hand to start talking possible deals as the hot stove season starts heating up.
The man in charge of the Mets’ personnel decisions, Sandy Alderson, was also on hand. The soon-to-be 70-year-old GM talked a lot about the team’s focus this offseason and how the end of last year impacted their plans this winter.
One of the topics at hand was first base. With Dominic Smith coming up to big league club last season, the Mets had hoped that this spot on the roster would be taken care of for the next few years, but it doesn’t seem like that’s a certainty to Alderson.
Ouch. Alderson did not bite his tongue.
Smith was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on August 10 of this year after absolutely racking out west. Unfortunately, that success did not translate to the show once he got here. Dom struggled, and struggled a lot, in the 49 games he played in blue and orange.
Smith had a total of 183 plate appearances in 2017 and managed just 33 hits with almost half of those going for extra bases. He hit for a little bit of pop – going yard nine times in those seven weeks, but overall Smith’s numbers of .198/.262/.395 when the season was done were best to forget. What was the most concerning about Smith, however, was the amount of times he struck out. At 49 strikeouts, his K rate was over 29 percent with the Mets. He will need to spend the most time working on that and hopefully getting down to the 19 percent rate he averaged last year while a member of the 51s.
Alderson’s hint that Smith’s job wasn’t guaranteed next season definitely shows the GM is trying to send a subtle yet direct message to the young first baseman. He didn’t stop there either. Alderson added another comment about Smith’s condition and how he needs to start being “careful” about it.
I personally like these comments from Alderson. He’s spoken nothing but the truth and while it may seem harsh to some, at this level, every player has to be able to develop thick skin when it comes to critique like this. At the end of the day, everyone with the Mets wants him to succeed. There’s really no doubt about that. When that will happen is another question altogether.
The Mets front office will have a big decision on its hands this winter. Will they try to bring in a veteran first baseman to compete with Smith for the job in Spring Training? From the sound of Alderson’s latest comments the first base job is open as of now, and unless Smith can figure it out in camp next season, it may stay that way for the 2018 season.