With Dominic smith coming off a disappointing 2021 season, “there are some expectations within the industry that New York Mets will trade him “after the lockout. Since the Mets beefed up their daily lineup by signing Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo EscobarThere has been a lot of speculation about what the club would do with a suddenly packed mix of position players.
Between the three new faces and Robinson Cano returning from suspension, Jeff McNeil, Smith and JD Davis suddenly seemed to have little regular playing time. Even if the NL adopts the designated hitter in the next collective bargaining agreement, there could be a greater chance that the free-spending Mets will fill that additional spot in the lineup with another established star:
That’s far from the first time Smith has appeared in trade rumors. Smith generated a lot of commercial comment following his great performance (more than 197 plate appearances) in 2019, as the Mets’ excess talent at first base and outfield seemed to leave Smith without a position.
However, injuries and the use of the NL designated hitter in 2020 opened up more space for Smith in 2020, and he responded with even greater numbers.
Smith hit a cumulative .299 / .366 / .571 with 21 home runs in 396 at-bats in 2019-20, but that production fell dramatically last year, with just a .244 / .304 / .363 line and 11 home runs over 493 batted.
While Smith benefited from a BABIP of .368 in 2020, that number dropped to .298 in 2021, and Smith’s isolated power also dropped from .299 to just .119. Less harsh contact overall could be why so few of Smith’s flyballs resulted in home runs or doubles, and opposing teams also increased their use of defensive swings against the left-handed hitter:
After posting big numbers against shift (special formation) in 2019-20, Smith only had a .265 wOBA against shifts last season, and teams used shift 60.1% of the time (according to Statcast).
Smith is controlled during the 2024 season, with Smith in his second year of salary arbitration (as a Super Two player). Smith is projected to make $ 4MM, so the player would be a steal if he could regain his pre-2021 form.
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Between this ability to control and his recent success, Smith still has a solid amount of business value, even if the suitors had some justifiable question marks in the wake of their respective bad years. That said, it could be argued that Smith could benefit from a change of scenery away from the drama that has swirled around the Mets in recent years.
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MLB: Dominic Smith, another who sounds to leave the New York Mets