Mets made the right decision to not trade Dominic Smith prior to 2020
By Tim Boyle
Dominic Smith can fit in well on the New York Mets roster in 2020 but he may fit in even better as a voice in the clubhouse.
It made a whole lot of sense to trade Dominic Smith over the winter. The way the New York Mets were built, finding him any regular playing time seemed like a futile challenge. Luckily, the right deal never came around and Smith has remained with the Mets.
The Mets still face some challenges when it comes to giving him the at-bats he needs. However, with the DH supposedly coming to the National League full-time, it’s really good news for both the team and Smith.
I don’t think many of us view Smith as the future DH of the Mets. It’s also not likely we see Pete Alonso take on the role regularly while Smith fills in at first base. This is definitely an option for the team to consider on a semi-regular basis, but not the permanent direction I think many of us would want the team to go.
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In the interim, the team can get away with this. When winter arrives, if the DH is still around for the NL, the club could have twice as many places where they might trade Smith.
Although Smith isn’t a DH, other organizations could view him as a better defensive option at first base which can then allow them to move their current first baseman to the spot. There aren’t 14 other NL teams out there who would target him but surely there is at least a handful.
It’s hard for me to imagine a world where Smith stays in orange and blue for much longer than 2020. I still expect him to get swapped for an outfielder or relief pitcher at some point. If the deal had taken place over the winter, he might be looking at a situation where the Mets only have a year or two of control over the veteran they acquired for Smith.
With the 2020 season largely wiped out, the deal wouldn’t feel nearly as sweet even if the player they acquired for Smith performed well.
In completely non-baseball thinking, I’m happy Smith is with the Mets for what he has done in the clubhouse and via Zoom calls. Smith has been one of the most entertaining Mets from the Cookie Club. He also carries with him a perspective the other members don’t.
This year has been tough for a lot of reasons and we’ve all been kicked in the teeth to some extent. Not all of us can fully relate or understand with all of the problems facing this world in 2020 which is why it was powerful for Smith to speak about race. We’re so used to seeing Smith smiling and feeling good. The change of pace made his statements resonate a little bit more.
Smith grew up A LOT since the 2018 season. I don’t know what it was. This isn’t the same guy who showed up late to meetings. He went from what looked like a prospect bust to a key piece in such a short time.
Somewhere along the way, Smith was invaded by a body snatcher. I like this new version of him. He’s a solid player and a mature athlete with leadership potential.
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While Smith may be fated for a new uniform in the not too distant future, it’s good to have him in New York right now. He’s a lefty bat Luis Rojas can load in the chamber. Perhaps more importantly, he’s a chemistry-builder in the locker room and a voice to represent some who feel they haven’t had one.