Smith, 28, once looked like a potential impact center fielder. He hit .296/.367/.406 across 544 plate appearances with the Rays in 2018, a year in which he stole 40 bases. The Mariners acquired him that offseason as part of the deal that sent Mike Zunino to Tampa Bay, but Smith never followed up on that success. He did steal another 46 bags with Seattle in 2019, but the left-handed hitter slumped to a .227/.300/.335 line over 566 trips to the plate that year. Smith got off to an even worse start in 2020 and was ultimately outrighted off the Mariners roster.
After electing minor league free agency over the offseason, Smith signed a non-roster deal with the Mets. He didn’t appear in a game with the New York organization and was released last month, though. He’ll now look to work his way back in Cincinnati.
Mallex Smith will replace fellow former big league outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. on the Bats roster. Dwight Smith, who appeared in the majors with the Blue Jays and Orioles from 2017-20, has been released from his own minor league deal with the Reds, per Hilburn-Trenkle. The 28-year-old hit just .220/.327/.283 over 147 plate appearances with Louisville.