Playing time for Dominic Smith and J.D. Davis this year has been minimal. Smith is getting a few starts at first base and at the DH role while Davis seems to be only a factor exclusively in games versus a left-handed starting pitcher. Two of the top New York Mets trade candidates from the winter, each has had some trouble getting going in the early part of the season.
We can’t blame them. The pair got accustomed to playing every day. Now, they are in a rotation and losing playing time they may have received if not for Travis Jankowski.
On May 1, the Mets roster will shrink from 28 to 26. Very likely, one position player loses his big league job. Jankowski would need to be designated for assignments. Could this mean Smith or Davis—two players with minor league options—ends up in Triple-A?
A numbers game could have the Mets demoting Dominic Smith or J.D. Davis next week
The Mets will probably DFA Sean Reid-Foley but that doesn’t take care of the other spot on the roster they need to cut. Carrying a five-man bench at the expense of a shorter bullpen isn’t so wise when pitchers are no longer hitting.
Jankowski has played well enough at the plate and showed the Mets his value in the field. Smith and Davis are limited on defense and hitting far poorer than Jankowski, somehow.
The number of players on the Mets with minor league options is limited. Light-hitting infielder Luis Guillorme, another guy who has been struggling early on, could be one candidate for a demotion. However, the Mets don’t have anyone else to backup Francisco Lindor at shortstop. They could conceivably use Eduardo Escobar or Jeff McNeil there in an emergency situation and simply promote Guillorme again if needed. That is one option to explore but not perfect.
Smith and Davis have fit imperfectly on the Mets roster since 2019. You may remember, Smith lost his first base gig to Pete Alonso only to later find his way as a regular in left field. When he suffered a midseason injury, the door opened up for Davis to finish out the year as the primary left fielder. That was under a different front office regime. The current one seems to have little interest in either Smith or Davis playing in the outfield. It’s practically DH or nothing for Davis and Smith is here to give Alonso a day off from fielding.
Over the next week, performances from Smith, Davis, and even Guillorme and Jankowski are essential. And while some Mets fans will simply hope the team decides it’s time to cut Robinson Cano, it’s not a realistic option.