Dominic Smith should see his name in the New York Mets lineup more frequently following Yoenis Cespedes’ decision to opt-out from the 2020 season.
The news of Yoenis Cespedes opting out of the 2020 season came as a shock to New York Mets fans on Sunday. The storyline began with a mysterious no-show by the big guy to the ballpark in Atlanta followed by rumors as to why he wasn’t present.
Later in the afternoon, we learned why; although rumors are still circulating online.
Whatever the case is, Cespedes is done for the season and the one winner in this is Dominic Smith.
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It was tough getting Smith’s bat into the lineup. Pete Alonso isn’t going to get benched despite his early slump. This left Smith with only opportunities to fill in as an occasional DH or left fielder.
Cespedes’ departure opens up that DH spot for Smith or possibly J.D. Davis to slide into with the other manning left field. It may not be the ideal path toward more playing time for Smith. However, I’m sure there’s at least a part of him happy to get this opportunity.
Smith had the kind of year in 2019 that left Mets fans wanting to see more of him. In 197 trips to the plate, the lefty-swinging first baseman slashed .282/.355/.525. He left us with the lasting memory of a walk-off home run in game 162 to end the season.
Smith hasn’t gotten off to an incredible start in 2020 but that can have something to do with how little he’s playing. The DH has practically eliminated his chance to regularly pinch-hit. Prior to this Cespedes news, he was a bench cheerleader with the potential to start once or twice a week at the most.
Things have drastically changed for the Mets and their outlook on the season. Cespedes was supposed to return to the lineup in 2020 and help carry this team to the postseason much like he did in 2015. The script was written out so nicely.
While Cespedes was doing the damage as a starter, Smith would get a chance to contribute in a limited capacity from the bench.
The story has changed with Smith seemingly now in line to get much more playing time. I suspect he may watch from the bench whenever the Mets face a southpaw but should get plenty of at-bats to help give the team a better idea of what he can do in the near future.
The Mets prepared their roster this year to overcome a lack of depth. Their starting pitching staff has been tested already. Now their position players will be, too.
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Smith was one of the top trade candidates on the club throughout the offseason. No trade ever happened. In this situation, he’s a good thing for him and the Mets.