After new billionaire owner Steve Cohen spent a crazy bag this offseason, expectations for Dominic Smith and the New York Mets jumped through the roof.
The addition of top talent to your roster is always welcomed by any ballclub, but for players like our MLBbro Dominic Smith, it simply means one thing: grind time.
Smith’s positional versatility combined with career highs in hits, RBI, runs and walks in 2021 made it seem as if he would be a prime candidate for an everyday slot in the Mets lineup. Throw in the universal DH and we’re really cooking with fire, right?
Not quite. The Mets’ addition of Starling Marte and Mark Cahna to an outfield that already included Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil meant it would be tough to see consistent time there. Pete Alonso still remains first on the depth chart at first base, which meant that Smith needed to come out hot in order to show new Mets manager Buck Showalter that he could contribute on a daily basis.
The Mets have been one of the hottest teams in baseball out the gate, winning every series they’ve played in until Tuesday.
Unfortunately for Smith, six hits in his first 36 at-bats this season found him in a platoon role – a role he very openly voiced his displeasure with. Trade ideas floated around but never materialized, just like Smith’s playing time.
Over the weekend, Smith put on a performance against the Philadelphia Phillies that potentially saved his roster spot. Dom went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs in their 10-6 victory over their division rivals.
“I really try to focus in on the little things,” Smith said after the game. “When you don’t have consistent at-bats, it’s unfair to yourself if you only base your success on getting base hits.” His words seemed prophetic. When Showalter turned in his lineup card the next night, Smith wasn’t on it.
Smith survived the May 2nd deadline to trim rosters to 26 players, and justified his manager’s decision by driving in two runs against the Atlanta Braves on Monday. Over his last seven games, Dom has collected five hits, five RBI and posted a .389 OBP.
The question now: Will Smith be rewarded for his improved play?
“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it,” said Smith. “It’s the business of baseball and it’s out of my control. All I can do is what I did tonight (sunday), which is help the team win and try to put together good at-bats.”