Mets should strongly consider not trading Dominic Smith
By Tim Boyle
For much of 2019, it felt like the New York Mets had every reason to trade Dominic Smith. However, as he continues to bash and fills in as the left fielder, they may want to reconsider it.
Dominic Smith has recently gotten a taste of left field and it’s likely a place the New York Mets will continue to place him. For most of the year, Smith has been one of the most productive bats when at the plate. Denying him the opportunity to hit more is a foolish endeavor for a team hoping to compete.
Whether the Mets fall out of the pennant race this summer or not, Smith looks like a prime candidate to trade. Not so fast. If he shows signs of improved play in left field and the bat continues to hit well, holding onto him is worth their consideration.
Let’s not forget Smith is younger than Pete Alonso. Despite his troubles, Smith worked to lose weight and corrected his sleep apnea. Each has paid off and turned him into a productive bat—at least through the early part of 2019.
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Smith isn’t the prototypical first baseman you want to build around. He doesn’t have the kind of power a slugger like Alonso does. However, if capable of hitting for a high batting average, he could fit in nicely with an organization that in recent years has struggled offensively.
Left field is one of those “power positions” but even with 20 home run seasons in his arsenal, it’s good enough with a .300 batting average. First, though, Smith has to do it for the long haul. The Mets need to determine over the next few weeks whether they believe he’s capable of doing so before pulling the trigger on a deal.
Smith’s trade value is still somewhat limited because of his status as a first baseman with part-time left field experience. Players like this are not so coveted.
It’s also not very helpful when you look at how poorly he performed in 2017 and 2018 with plenty of at-bats in each. The 2019 campaign has gone far differently for the young left-handed hitter. He’s now someone a team could utilize in a multitude of ways. Will the Mets be the ones to do it?
Based on the construction of this roster and organization, there is room for Smith as a regular in the outfield. The Mets don’t have any big prospect in the minor leagues tearing opposing pitchers apart. On the big league roster, the only two players who could challenge for playing time in left field long term are J.D. Davis and Jeff McNeil. These two position-less men are able to fill a variety of roles with a little more flexibility than we’ve seen from Smith.
Trading Smith is dependent on the value the Mets get back. I’m hesitant to trade him for anything more than a guy they can have on the roster for several years. Unless it’s a cannot-miss-win-now-move we can all agree on, why trade him for anything less than greater value at a different position?
A middle reliever would be nice. We only get to see them contribute a few times per week. Smith has a chance to help this team win on a daily basis.
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Smith has a good attitude. As I wrote before, I do believe he’ll have a decent big league career. It’s hard to imagine it all happens in Flushing. He’s just in the wrong place with the possibility of finding a better home in the near future.