The Mets have activated first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith from the 60-day injured list, as per a team announcement (via Twitter). Jeff McNeil will take Smith’s spot on the 60-day IL, as McNeil suffered a fractured wrist in last night’s game.
After a stress reaction in his left foot put Smith out of action back on July 27, he has made it back in time to add a coda onto what has already been a successful 2019 campaign. Smith has hit .278/.352/.506 with 10 homers over 196 plate appearances, with the bulk of that playing time coming against right-handed pitching. While Smith was much more successful (.882 OPS) against righties, he also managed a pretty respectable .281/.343/.406 slash line in his 35 PA against southpaws, which is a promising sign for the 24-year-old’s chances at becoming an everyday player.
Formerly a top-100 prospect, Smith’s first two seasons in the majors saw him hit only .210/.259/.406 over 332 PA. Smith faced criticisms about his conditioning (which he addressed last winter) and, with Pete Alonso on the rise as the Mets’ new first baseman of the future, there was speculation that New York could look to trade Smith since he seemingly didn’t have any other position on the diamond. Instead, Smith saw a lot of time in left field this year, though defensive metrics (-24.1 UZR/150, minus-2 Defensive Runs Saved) weren’t impressed by work.
It isn’t out of the question that Smith could be put on the trade market again, now that he has somewhat revived his stock by showing that he can hit MLB pitching. An American League team that can offer DH at-bats could be a better fit than a National League club like the Mets, plus New York also has a crowded corner outfield situation as it is. That said, Smith is still controlled for the next four seasons and isn’t arbitration-eligible until after 2020, so the Mets could prefer to keep him around as an inexpensive and useful part-timer.