Dominic Smith optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
Smith was hitting just .186/.287/.256 with five extra-base hits and no homers in 2022
Though the writing has been on the wall for several weeks now, it was still surprising to see the news come across today: After a difficult start to the 2022 season, the Mets have made the decision to option 1B/OF Dominic Smith to Triple-A Syracuse.
After breakout seasons in 2019 and 2020, the last two years have been massively disappointing for the club’s former first round draft pick. Smith has struggled mightily this year, with zero home runs and a 22 OPS+ (the major league average is 100) in 39 games. Since the start of last season, Smith is batting .235/.301/.346 with 11 home runs, 24 doubles, a .647 OPS, 79 OPS+ and a -1.1 fWAR.
And while it was the hope of the team that Smith would see improvement with additional at-bats following the release of Robinson Canó on May 2nd, it has not come to fruition. In the 19 games since, Smith hit just .130/.226/.217 and saw less playing time in recent days as his difficulties continued.
It’s a tough turn of events for Smith, who was nearly traded to the Padres prior to the season and spoke in spring training about wanting to play on an every day basis. Smith did thrive in a part time/utility role from 2019-20, but has struggled mightily in that role since.
In the end, the Mets needed to add additional arms given the instability and uncertainty with the pitching staff as they navigate absences with Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Tylor Megill and Trevor May. The Mets are also nursing a minor injury to Drew Smith, who is day-to-day after dislocating his finger in Sunday night’s game. The Mets over-extended their bullpen on Monday thanks to a shorter-than-expected outing from David Peterson, and with Trevor Williams likely on a light pitch count on Tuesday, the Mets were unquestionably in need of a fresh body and a longer bullpen ahead of their game against the Nationals.
And, with the emergence of Nick Plummer and his power bat from the left side and Luis Guillorme’s all-around game (especially lately - Guillorme is hitting .465/.521/.512 over his last 16 games), Smith was the clear choice to be sent to the minor leagues.
As for who will back up Alonso at first base in Smith’s absence, Mark Canha or JD Davis could serve as options in that role, although both are right-handed hitters and at least Smith gave the Mets a natural option from the left side at that position. However, having Canha or Davis at first base could afford Buck Showalter more opportunities for the lefty hitting Plummer, thereby offsetting that issue at another position in the field.
As for Smith, the future is now uncertain for the former first round draft selection. But a stint in the minor leagues could serve as a benefit and allow him to reboot his season and career for that matter.
Time will tell the rest of Smith’s story.