The Mets are planning to give veteran Jay Bruce a long look at first base over the final five weeks of the season, as Tim Healey of Newsday reports. Bruce was activated today from a long stay on the disabled list, with the club optioning former top first base prospect Dominic Smith as part of the day’s roster maneuvering.
It seems the idea is to assess what skipper Mickey Callaway called the “possibility” that Bruce could enter the 2019 campaign as a regular at first base. As the organization looks ahead to an offseason that will likely be overseen by a new general manager, no decisions have been made. Rather, Bruce will have an opportunity to show whether he looks to be a viable option at first and/or his customary corner outfield. Callaway says the veteran will appear in the infield “quite a bit moving forward.”
Of course, the Mets largely know what they have in Bruce, who was signed over the winter to a three-year, $39MM contract that includes consecutive $13MM salaries for the coming two campaigns. The 31-year-old has struggled to a .212/.292/.321 slash this year, though it’s probably reasonable to anticipate he’ll bounce back toward his typically above-average offensive levels. This is his 11th season in the majors, so there isn’t much mystery about his skillset with the bat (generally: good power and limited on-base ability).
Smith, though, is a former first-round pick who only just turned 23 years of age this summer. He carries only a .197/.251/.389 batting line in 263 MLB plate appearances over the past two seasons and also hasn’t hit much this year at Triple-A. But it wasn’t long ago that he was seen as a high-quality prospect; indeed, Smith earned his way into the majors in 2017 with a .330/.386/.519 performance in 500 plate appearances for Las Vegas last year.
Nevertheless, Smith is on his way back to Triple-A. While he’ll presumably re-join the MLB roster at some point in September, it seems he won’t receive a particularly close look in the final month of the season. Indeed, Callaway had some eye-opening comments on the youngster. “The deal here is you might not ever get a look,” he said. “That’s how it goes in the major leagues. Nothing is fair. It is what it is. But he has to keep on grinding and putting himself in a position where he can come up here and get at-bats.”
While it’s understandable that the organization may want Smith to force the issue somewhat, the decisionmaking process seems a mite curious, as David Lennon of Newsday suggested recently. True, another prospect — Peter Alonso — has likely now eclipsed Smith in the organization’s eyes. But Alonso is actually 190 days older than Smith. And as impressive as the 2016 second-rounder has been, the Mets surely would at a minimum prefer to boost Smith’s trade value if he’s going to end up making way for Bruce and/or Alonso in the near future.
Dominic Smith: -1.1 WAR? Yikes, bbref WAR too
Oh well, At least Jeff McNeil is tearing it up. Do you Mets fans still have faith in Dominic Smith?
He’s not an outfielder so that’s gonna knock him down severely. Peter Alonso has already eclipsed him on the depth chart. His best bet is somewhere else but there isn’t much of an opportunity for a guy at 1st who doesn’t have Great pop and recently hasn’t even been putting up the BA.
Not disagreeing with you, but is this rare? case where a player’s Fangraphs WAR (-0.6) higher than bbref? (-1.1) I think Fangraphs a lot more critical in WAR evaluation. Did NOT know Smith’s Fangraphs War is higher.
His defense at 1B is hardly atrocious, OF is another story, -6 DRS in 61.1 Inn LF? Smith is a Rookie.. but OF Def in limited sample is pretty damning… Still Wish Dominic Smith nothing but success.
If I were a Mets fan I’d be through the roof.
Bruce is a replacement level player in 4 of the last 5 seasons. Sure, he has some power, but overall he’s worthless – and he’s making a bunch of money over multiple seasons because of a contract they shouldn’t have given him.
In a effort to try and hide that mistake a little they are going to make sure a very young bat with a ton of potential is not given an opportunity to show what he is capable of?
Regardless how anyone feels about Smith specifically, this is rather nuts.
Smith has failed repeatedly. He looks overmatched at the plate and is consistently in the wrong place on defense. His baseball instincts don’t look particularly good and if you want to be honest, the only place he has looked like a hitting prospect is in Vegas, which is a notorious hitters’ park. Why Alonso isn’t getting some experience against major league pitching I’d kind of confusing. Does anyone really think Cespedes will get 450 at bats in 2019? Comforto, Nimmo and Bruce in the outfield means we really need another right handed productive bat. Seems the 1b job should be Alonso’s to lose with Flores back to super sub, which is a shame for him.
He’s still young. Maybe a change of scenery candidate?
As an outsider looking in, sometimes I imagine myself as a player being drafted and not wanting to be drafted by that specific team: pitcher in Colorado, any player in Tampa or for new York Mets.
Why not Tampa… they have a good history of developing players.
Kay lives in St. Pete and will have to drive to games once they build a stadium on the right side of the causeway. Because other than their stadium which prevents any real fan base development and income stream, the Rays are a solid organization.
If you gave them the Flushing revenue potential they would be a consistently good team.
The Mets on the other hand are the continued laughing stock of baseball.
the mets have to stay out of the news – everything they do makes
them look like idiots for everybody to see
No worries Just-their “fans” on here left long ago. Full of bravado after the first eleven games of the season, they spent the next two months defending and rationalizing their denial and wishful thinking.
Then they each had to get their annual script of meds and have been quiet waiting for the Nets season to begin.
Dom’s a good kid. Hope he gets a chance some where. Seems committed to getting and staying in shape.
Yet Amed Rosario with a -0.4 WAR and an WRC+ of 75 is not subject to the same scrutiny as Smith is and was handed the starting shortstop job in 2018.. Amed received his chance because he had a better showing last summer, yet after another 400 plus at bats, his slash lines are essentially identical:
2017 170 PA .248/.271/.394
2018 .445 PA .242/.285/.362
I’m not suggesting that Dominic Smith is a star in the making, but the handling of these two “highly rated” Mets prospects demonstrates how poorly run this organization is. We released Gonzalez in the beginning of June and handed 1B to Wilmer Flores who can’t field any position.
You have five weeks left in the season. Run Smith out there everyday and see what you got. At the very least see if you can rise his value a bit. If Bruce’s hip has healed and his power returns as a result, put him back in the OF so we can try and move him in the offseason. I certainly don’t need to see Jose Bautista out there everyday as he won’t be on the team next year.
If Smith doesn’t recover any value, you can always put Alonso at 1st next year. He’s a cheaper version of Bruce anyway, power that can’t field his position.
Amed Rosario plays a very important position that needs athleticism, and he has it. Amed is a good defender due to his athleticism. In addition, Amed looks like he’s finally figured it out at the plate, he’s been on a tear as of late. I do agree Smith should get more of a chance just like Amed did this entire season, but they have Bruce. I’m not saying that’s a good excuse, cause it’s not for a last place team, but that’s the blame of the owner/gm
I also thought Smith should have been given the opening day nod, not Adrian Gonzalez, but then again, the Mets really thought they had a chance of competing with Degrom, Thor, Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler, and that just didn’t happen.
“but then again, the Mets really thought they had a chance of competing with Degrom, Thor, Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler, and that just didn’t happen.“
There’s a good chance with their new gm they will [still] try going for it again in 2019. Admirable pitching staff. Good luck
Smith was hurt in April and a gon actually was serviceable early on. Then the train derailed, Smith wasn’t producing in the minors and nothing seemed to work there after with a gon falling apart, Brice hurt, and Flores being pushed into a position he isn’t that good at.
Bruce* before you all yell at me
“But then again, Adrian was part of a much larger strategy that Fred came up with for the season:
“Every game is like an Old Timers’ Game at Chitifield in 2018”.
It was the campaign that never got off the ground as the over the hill, washed up roster played like old timers.
Hey one of the Three Stooges was sure to be the one that told elderly Sandy to re-sign Bruce after he caught fire in Cleveland during the pennant race.
Abbott and Costello wouldn’t authorize such a large contract until Bruce became desperate.
Truth be told, he’s way past his prime now and Bruce plays to the level of the team he is on, which is pretty lousy. So the cheap bosses issued instructions to do this so that the fans will have some false hope for the off season.
As far as Smith and Rosario, their offensive stats in Vegas are blown out of proportion by playing in Vegas. Coupled with playing for the Mets, a team incapable of developing MLB talent there both screwed.
smith will be back up in a week
if cespedes was going to play left and conforto was going to play right, where were you gonna play a slow, weak fielding, over paid corner outfielder on a 3 year $39 million deal????
and don’t tell me you were going to put conforto in center coming off an injury, missing spring training and joining the team after the season started.
just who gave the go ahead on this master stroke?
Hey Just…that was exactly the plan, and they had a management person dedicated to making it work.
No it wasn’t a fielding coach. It was none other than “TC” who was such an inspiration in 2015 that pitchers blew out their arms playing beyond their capabilities.
Why do you think that Conforto has such a lousy start to the season? He had that Bozo in his head showing the kid film of great center fielders and telling him, “we know you can do it”.
that is so unbelievably stupid – why didn’t they just wait a year or slowly develop conforto into a centerfielder instead of ruining a whole year of his hitting and confidence. I mean I know the answer, which is always the answer :
IT’S THE METS