The New York Mets marriage to Dominic Smith must end.
The mutually beneficial partnership between player and club has reached its separation point. With Pete Alonso entrenched at first base, Robinson Cano at designated hitter, and Mark Canha and J.D. Davis in left field, there is nowhere for Smith to play consistently, which is something that he desires. His reported endorsement of the failed trade between the Mets and the Padres reveals his desire to play every day, preferably at his strongest position, which is first base.
Now that Smith was almost on his way to sunny San Diego, it is time for an amicable parting of the ways. Smith’s desire to play every day is not going to be granted by the Mets not because they don’t want to play him, but simply because there is no room for him to play every day. As the Mets roster currently stands, the team is deep when it comes to position players, but they could use more pitching, especially after Jacob deGrom will be missing significant time, and new ace Max Scherzer dealing with a hamstring issue.
The Mets' Dominic Smith will benefit a team that could use a little more offense in their lineup.
Dominic Smith is no longer needed on the Mets, and the team needs to trade him in for some needed pitching depth, which has become a concern.
Smith has a lot to offer any club that acquires him. He is a strong defender at first base, and despite a down year in 2021, he is a power-hitting lefty who could provide some pop to any team’s lineup. He is also only 26 years old, which means that there is a strong likelihood that he will continue to improve and become a more complete hitter.
In analyzing potential trading partners for the Mets, I initially examined teams who could stand to improve at the first base and designated hitter positions. Given that players at these positions are expected to produce offensively, it stands to reason that teams seeking power hitting would be drawn to a player such as Smith, who can provide that.
One of these teams is the Cleveland Guardians
The Guardians, despite having a great pitching staff, are probably not legitimate playoff contenders right now because of their anemic offense. Apart from Jose Ramirez, there aren’t many offensive-minded players on the Guardians that can be reliably counted on to produce offensively. For the Guardians to challenge the Chicago White Sox (the favorite to win the American League Central), they are going to need more firepower on offense. In 2021, Cleveland ranked 21st in batting average and 18th in runs scored. Although the Guardians pitching staff can keep them in games, their offense was often not adequate enough to generate enough runs.
Enter Smith, who would immediately improve production at first base. Bobby Bradley, the Guardians current starting first baseman, only hit .208/.294/.445 with 16 home runs and 41 RBI. He also only sported a OPS+ of 99, which is moderately below-average for the position. Smith, despite a down year, hit .244/.304/.363 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI. Even if Smith performed between his 2020 and 2021 numbers, he would represent an upgrade at the position.
The Mets, meanwhile, could ask for Guardians pitcher Zach Plesac, who is available. A career 3.93 pitcher, Plesac had a down year in 2021, compiling a 10-6 record with a 4.67 ERA. The Mets would be buying low on a pitcher who could easily improve, given his past success and the fact that he’s only 27 years old.
The Mets and Guardians are also familiar trading partners. Last year, the Mets traded Amed Rosario and Andreas Gimenez to Cleveland for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. Both front offices are very familiar with one another and likely have a strong idea of what each team needs and would ask for. The two teams worked collaboratively to pull off a blockbuster trade they thought would be mutually beneficial. Perhaps they could do it again?