Sunday, July 3, 2022

Mets send struggling Dominic Smith to Triple-A following slow start to season

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The New York Mets demoted first baseman/outfielder Dominic Smith on Tuesday, replacing him on the active roster with reliever Adonis Medina

Smith, who will celebrate his 27th birthday on June 15, has faltered since receiving downballot Most Valuable Player Award consideration for his strong play during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He’s hit .235/.301/.346 (79 OPS+) with 11 home runs and more than three times as many strikeouts than walks in his last 594 plate appearances. Those marks include his poor performance to date this season, as he’s posted a 59 OPS+ in 39 games.

Demoting Smith to Syracuse, the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, should allow him more regular playing time than he was receiving in the majors. The hope, then, is that he can find his stroke on a more consistent basis away from the spotlight, at which point he could work his way back onto a big-league roster — be it the Mets or someone else’s. Smith has long been subjected to trade rumors, with sources confirming to CBS Sports in the past that the Mets were willing to move him (though clearly they never found an offer to their liking).

The biggest benefactor of Smith’s demotion is outfielder Nick Plummer, who originally joined the organization over the offseason and will now stick around in a reserve capacity. Plummer has appeared in five games since debuting in the majors, notching four hits in nine trips to the plate. Three of those hits have gone for extra bases, including two for home runs. CBS Sports named Plummer as the Mets’ breakout player back in spring, writing the following:

The Mets don’t have many true “breakout” candidates, leaving us to reach for Plummer. Truth be told, he might not get an opportunity to show his stuff given the Mets’ projected roster. Oh well. Plummer is a former first-round pick who had disappeared from prospect lists. He raised his stock enough last season to earn a big-league deal as a minor-league free-agent. Some scouts have expressed reservations about him becoming more than a reserve outfielder, but crafting these breakout lists is a lot like being a Mets fan: ya gotta believe.

Medina, 25, has already made four appearances for the Mets this season. He’s allowed five runs on 10 hits and no walks across 7 2/3 innings pitched. The Mets acquired Medina in April by purchasing his contract from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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