The Mets reinstated Dominic Smith from the 10-day injured list and then optioned the first baseman to Triple-A Syracuse. Smith has yet to play in the second half of the season, as a right ankle sprain sent him to the IL (via retroactive placement) on July 17.
Smith has already seen 20 games’ worth of action with Syracuse this season, both on a rehab assignment for his ankle and due to a demotion from the Mets’ active roster back in June. In the big leagues, Smith has hit only .194/.276/.284 in 152 plate appearances, his second consecutive down year amidst several trade rumors and the seeming reality that the Mets have simply moved on to other options at the first base/DH spot. Pete Alonso’s presence was already going to limit Smith’s playing time, but New York has turned to several other players for at-bats besides Smith, leaving him frustrated.
The 27-year-old recently spoke about that frustration with MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, but also with off-the-field problems that left Smith “in a bad spot” with his mental health.
“I wasn’t happy at the field. I wasn’t happy playing baseball at all,” Smith said. “I wasn’t happy when I did good. I wasn’t happy when I did bad….It was just stuff not going my way in life. I just felt like things couldn’t get worse, and then they seemingly did, and it kept snowballing worse and worse. You’re trying to control everything, and you just seem like you can’t control anything.”
Fortunately, Smith is in a better mental place and “just at peace right now.” He’ll continue to take the field at Triple-A and see if he can get himself on track as part of the Mets’ plans at least in 2022. His longer-term future in Queens is in doubt, as Smith put it plainly, “with the way I played this year, I don’t know if they want to bring me back for how much my contract is.” Smith earned $3.95MM this season and has two arbitration-eligible years left before free agency, so it remains to be seen if the Mets would just non-tender Smith altogether or if they could arrange a trade.