The New York Mets “aren’t actively shopping” Dominic Smith after signing Matt Adams

New York Mets, Luis Rojas
Mar 24, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (right) laughs beside Mets quality control coach Luis Rojas (left) before a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets secured the signature of first baseman Matt Adams in the last few hours. The deal is of the minor league variety, and comes with an invitation to spring training. The former Washington National won’t have a roster spot waiting for him: he will have to earn it on the field.

The news came as a surprise, since the Mets already employ to solid first baseman. Pete Alonso is the starter and Dominic Smith is the backup who can also play in the outfield. However, no minor league signing is bad, and that applies here.

As a result of Adams’ signing, the future of Smith in the organization gets a little more cloudy. After all, there were already rumblings that the Mets would be looking to package him with an undesirable contract, such as Jed Lowrie’s, to get teams to bite on the package.

However, and according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Mets are not actively shopping Dominic Smith. For now, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen is happy with keeping all three in the fold.

It helps that Smith is also capable of playing the outfield, although defensive metrics say that he’s not very good out there.

The New York Mets’ first base picture

As far as playing time goes, only Alonso is guaranteed everyday at-bats. The other two will have to earn them.
Smith is a very valuable piece for the New York Mets. He is only 24 years old and has five seasons of cheap team control remaining. He had a breakthrough performance in 2019 despite limited at-bats: after struggling in 2017 and 2018 in the bigs, he slashed .282/.355/.525 with a .368 wOBA and a 133 wRC+ in 89 games and 197 plate appearances. He cranked 11 home runs, scored 35 times and drove in 25 runs.

The powerful IF/OF can be a regular someday, either at first base with the Mets, in the outfield (if he improves defensively there) or with another team. He doesn’t have a pronounced platoon split, as he mashed both against lefties (132 wRC+) and righties (133 wRC+) in 2019.

Adams is better suited to bench duties. He has 11 pinch-hit home runs and 49 RBI in his career, and has a pronounced platoon split (59 wRC+ vs. lefties and 117 wRC+ vs. righties.) Will there be room in the roster for both? We will find out soon enough.