Dominic Smith has done just about everything he’s been asked of by the New York Mets throughout his time in the organization — whether that’s learning the outfield to make way for Pete Alonso to getting in better shape, to developing into a potentially invaluable bat in the lineup.
But the 26-year-old has found himself toward the bottom of a log jam within the Mets’ roster that was created by the revamping of the outfield — the acquisitions of Starling Marte and Mark Canha — along with the return of Robinson Cano as the potential No. 1 DH option.
All scenarios are slated to take at-bats away from Smith, whose name popped up in trade rumors over the weekend in a potential deal with the San Diego Padres for pitcher Chris Paddack and veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer.
The trade fell through, but SNY’s Andy Martino initially reported that the damage was already done.
“Dom Smith feels he has proven himself as an everyday player and would not be happy to remain with Mets in a platoon role if this trade to Padres does not go through,” Martino wrote on Saturday. “Would not be in a good headspace on bench in NY.”
Smith finally had an opportunity to address those rumors on Monday.
“That didn’t come from my mouth but who wouldn’t want to play every day?,” Smith asked reporters down in Port St. Lucie, FL. “That’s common sense in my opinion. I don’t think any guy in the big leagues wants to be a part-time player or backup player. If the opportunity is out there, like I said, who wouldn’t want to play every day?
“Those exact words didn’t come from my mouth. I’m here, it’s out of my control. I can’t trade myself and I can’t put myself in the lineup. All I can do is show what I can and that’s what I do out there on the field. That’s all I plan to do — play hard and play well.”
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While Smith was once the Mets’ top prospect, the emergence of Alonso paired with a rocky start to his pro career saw him tumble down the organization’s list of long-term options.
“I’ve been a part of trade rumors my whole career,” he added. “This is something that’s not new to me and is something that’s just a part of the game.”
After batting just .210 in his first 105 games between 2017-2018, Smith began showing promise during an injury-shortened 2019 and a COVID-shortened 2020, slashing .299/.366/.571 (937 OPS) with 21 home runs and 67 RBI in 139 games.
A return to a full season in 2021, however, saw a considerable regression. He batted .244 with a .667 OPS with 11 home runs and 58 RBI in 145 games.
His ceiling still appears to be high and the constant viewing of him as a trade chip suggests just that.
“It is what it is,” Smith said. “I’m here. Like I told you, I’ve been here and I don’t think I’ll get traded until it happens. I’m happy to be a Met. I love this city, I love this organization, I love this team.”