Have the Mets seen the last of Dominic Smith with frustrations brewing?

dominic smith, mets
May 3, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (2) reacts after hitting a two run double against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Since 2017, Dominic Smith has been one of the main staples on the Mets roster. Smith has played a variety of positions. This includes first base, left field, and designated hitter. 

Despite his usefulness in a utility role, Smith has not seen the playing time he has desired over the past several years. In an interview with Newsday’s Anthony Rieber in May, Smith expressed these frustrations. 

“I just want to play every day. To be honest, that’s what I want to do. I like where this team is going. I feel like I can impact this team in a number of ways, and that’s being (in the lineup) every day, in my opinion. But as a person, being here since I was 22, now I’m 26, and still in the same position. About to be 27. If there’s a team out there that wants me to play and wants to let me play, I would love to play every day. That’s just how I feel about that.”

Smith’s time with the Mets has been nothing short of a bumpy road. In his first two seasons, he never played more than 60 games. In these years, he was never able to post an OPS higher than .700. Then, in 2019, Smith began to heat up.

In 89 appearances for the Mets in his age 24 season, Smith posted a line of .282/.355/.525. This was good for an OPS of .881, .123 higher than the league average that year of .758. 

Things continued to pick up for Dom in 2020. In a COVID-19 shortened season, Smith was nothing short of elite. His batting line of .316/.377/.616 was one of the league’s best marks that season. In a year where only 60 games were played, Smith played 50 for the Mets. He even finished 13th in MVP voting, the only time in his career that he has received MVP votes. It seemed as though a star had been born in New York. 

However, this soon proved to be far from the truth. Smith saw serious regression the following year. His batting numbers significantly declined, including a more than 300 point drop in his OPS. He finished the 2021 campaign with a WAR of -0.7, making him worse than a replacement-level player.

As many Mets fans are now aware, things have not gotten any better for Smith in 2022. Smith’s struggles have largely been in spite of the Mets’ triumphs, as their record of 58-35 is the second best in the National League. This season has been the worst of Smith’s career by far. His average has fallen below the Mendoza line of .200 while he maintains a horrid OPS of .560. He was even sent down to the Mets’ AAA affiliate in Syracuse in late June to fix his swing. To top it all off, Smith, who has been the Mets’ designated hitter for much of this season, has not hit a home run since July 19th of last year. 

Things continue to get worse for Dom, as the Mets placed him on the 10-Day Injured List on July 20th, retroactive to July 17th. Between his injury and his terrible performance thus far, one must wonder: has Smith played his last game for the Mets?

As the trade deadline approaches, such a concept becomes more and more likely. Despite his performance this year, teams seem interested in swapping for Smith. According to Robert Murray of Fansided, the Mets have heard and are entertaining offers for Smith. The Cubs and Red Sox have expressed interest in Dom. 

Because of Smith’s contract, which carries a slight heft of nearly $4 million, it is unlikely that the Mets are able to offload him to a team who is not seeking to use him. He will draw interest from teams looking to acquire a lefty bat at a lower price. Therefore, the Cubs and Red Sox make sense as trade partners.

Personally, I think that Smith is as good as gone. There is really no reason for the Mets to hold onto him. He has been nothing but dead weight for the Mets thus far. Even the front office has expressed their distaste for his performance. Ultimately, whether it comes in the form of a trade or a move to DFA him, there is really no reason for the Mets to hold onto Smith any longer.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @ryan_ragan_

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