The New York Mets have expressed interest in multiple first baseman this offseason. Either commit to Dom Smith or trade him elsewhere.
New York Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson has made it no secret that he is not completely committed to Dom Smith for the long term. During November’s GM meetings, Alderson noted that Smith did not win the first base job after his mediocre showing during the final six weeks of the season. If Alderson isn’t willing to be patient with Smith, then he should make it a priority to move on.
The Mets have already been linked with several marquee names such as Eric Hosmer, Jay Bruce, Carlos Santana and to a slightly lesser extent, Adam Lind. Any of which would represent a proven commodity at first base and give the Mets a much needed veteran presence. However, outside of Lind, the financially handicapped Mets have to be realistic with their options given other holes on the roster.
Bullpen arms and second base upgrades likely are going to be more plausible from a fiscal standpoint. Alderson hasn’t awarded many long-term contracts to free agents during his tenure, so the negative narrative he created about Smith might be a motivational tactic.
Smith has often struggled to keep his weight down. Combine that with a sub .200 batting average and -7 DRS to give Alderson the ammunition he needs to take such a stance. However, the former first-round pick played just six weeks in the major leagues–Rome also wasn’t built in a day.
Smith hit at all levels of the minor leagues and was known to be a plus defender. Despite his struggles in 2017, the 22-year-old still has the potential to be a cost-controllable franchise cornerstone–those players are worth the wait despite the Mets seemingly hellbent on returning to contention in the immediate future. We live in an age of instant gratification and unfortunately for Smith, Met brass wishes he was an all-star yesterday–or at least they act like it.
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If Alderson’s original comments are true and he feels the franchise is best served to go in another direction, he should trade Smith this winter. While his value may not be as high as it was several months ago, a rival club could have plenty of interest in a player just 22-years-old with a high ceiling and major league readiness.
The potential for Amed Rosario and Smith to evolve into cost controllable franchise stalwarts is too great to abandon. Smith may have struggled early on, but it’s hard to believe Alderson would jettison a player that he originally drafted. Additionally, the Mets don’t have the financial leverage to address issues with free agent band-aids.
Alderson needs to make a choice. It’s either a legitimate pursuit in Hosmer, Santana, Bruce, etc., or showing support for a player he felt valuable enough to draft 11th overall.
After the MLB Winter Meetings take place in a few weeks, we should have a better idea of how the Mets plan to address first base in 2018.