When the New York Mets opened the 2022 season, one flaw of their roster was how few players had minor league options. This meant, to even get a fresh arm onto the roster, someone like Drew Smith would need to get sent down. Only he and Seth Lugo even had minor league options left. Injuries would eventually clear space for other arms who have routinely been bouncing between New York and Syracuse.
Now that we’ve had a few months of baseball, the Mets bullpen looks a lot different. Some guys are still out of action. Others have stepped into bigger roles. The once reliable Smith has been a little shakier in recent outings. His overall season numbers remain good but he has looked far more vulnerable.
The Mets can correct this easily by going out and trading for a right-handed stud. There are plenty of late-inning guys available. And even if they did make a big move like that, Smith could remain a factor for them as one of the better depth pieces within the organization.
The Mets go headfirst into the trade market for a righty if Drew Smith doesn’t improve
Smith’s three most recent outings have been scary. He walked three in 0.2 innings versus the Miami Marlins. Against the Houston Astros, he gave up 2 earned runs in his inning of work. He followed it up with more damage to his ERA when the Cincinnati Reds scored against him in his one inning on July 4.
Home runs have been an issue for him. He has given up 6 of them in 33.2 innings. It’s a big reason why he has a 2.67 ERA but a 4.42 FIP. Pitchers who surrender the long ball a little too often will suffer in this statistic.
The Mets are getting pretty much the same results from Smith as they did last year when he was 3-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 41.1 innings of work. He was giving up dingers at a similar rate but striking out fewer batters.
Smith is a peculiar pitcher whose most basic numbers like ERA, hits allowed, and strikeouts look superb. It’s the deeper dive that raises alarm bells. Despite owning a 3.03 ERA in his career, the 4.41 FIP tells us he has been lucky. One reason for this might be that Smith is solid at preventing hits. His walk numbers are a bit higher than we’d like to see yet he still holds a steady 1.09 WHIP this season.
There are plenty of numbers in baseball that can help tell the story of a player’s season. Smith’s numbers tell us he’s doing great. Other statistics are meant more for predicting what may lie ahead. According to many of those, Smith might be close to getting bit.
While Trevor May remains on the IL, Smith should continue to get big innings. Others, like Tommy Hunter and Colin Holderman, could compete with him for the roster spot. And because Smith does have the coveted minor league options left, sending him down might be a tie-breaker if only to keep someone else around without having to DFA them.