There's been a lot of questions floating around about Dominic Smith this season.
Will he get any playing time at first base with the way Pete Alonso's hitting?
Can he play the outfield?
Could he be a trade piece for the Mets?
Yet through it all, Smith has kept a smile on his face and a hot bat on his shoulder.
Appearing on WFAN's Carlin, Maggie & Bart on Friday, Smith talked about his up-and-down path that led him to where he is today, and what the future may hold for him.
After two tough seasons, Smith started out hot for the Mets this year, batting .333 through 37 plate appearances. Still, the Mets sent him down to Triple-A to promote Adeiny Hechavarria to the majors.
Smith was blindsided by the move.
"It was pretty difficult. In the moment, I was shocked," Smith said. "I didn't want that to affect how my season outcome went. You can ask the guys down in Triple-A, I went down and I wanted to bring the same energy, the same fun, and just play. I knew going down that I would be given the chance to play every day, so I wanted to go down there and show everybody what I can do as well. I didn't really pout about it."
He was eventually called back up to the majors. Mickey Callaway decided to get Smith some reps in the outfield, but questions about where he would fit in the Mets lineup persisted.
"That's something that you kind of think about," Smith said. "You talk in-house with your agent and people like that, and you kind of have an idea. Pete is definitely having a great year. He's very impactful for this team and for this city, and this team is great.
"We have a great young core of guys who are really good, and right now I'm just trying to be the best player I can be and come to this field every day and help my team win ball games. Whether it be me coming off the bench and getting a big hit, me coming in late in the game and making a great defensively play at first, or staying in left field and doing my job. It doesn't really matter to me, as long as I'm able to help contribute and help this team win ball games. That's all I care about."
Smith is undergoing a resurgence at the plate during his third season with the Mets. Given sporadic playing time and moving around from first base and the outfield, Smith has stepped up with the bat, hitting .354 with an OPS of 1.015.
"One thing that I wanted to get back to this season was just to have fun and to be myself," Smith said. "I came up to the big leagues and I kind of got away from what got me here, just the joy that I have playing the game, and just the smile that I bring and the energy that I bring.
"I was a young guy in the clubhouse and I kind of didn't know where I belonged and some days you don't know if you're good enough to play because it's your first time going through these things. This year is a new year and I just wanted to get back to having fun."
Now that Smith has reestablished himself as a quality left-handed hitter, the topic of the trade deadline continues to pop up.
Could another team view Smith as an everyday starter and try to make a move to acquire him?
"Baseball is a business," Smith said. "I grew up getting drafted by the Mets, and this is all I know. This is my home. I love New York. I love the fan base. I love the city. I love the front office. I love everything about New York. At the end of the day, you see all the time around the league that nobody's safe. Period. It's how it is, I guess. Nobody's safe. For the right price, anybody could get traded. … Whatever happens, happens. But as of right now, I play for the New York Mets, and I love being here and I love helping this team win."
So as all the chatter about Smith keeps on circulating in the media, the 23-year-old will just keep blocking it out and keep a smile on his face every time he takes the field.
"I used to pay attention to that stuff early in my career and I kind of dug myself into a hole," said Smith. "Once I realized any negative emotions or feelings were just going to take me away from being successful on the field, it kind of just cleared everything up for me and just made me at ease when I'm at the field. I don't worry about if I succeed or fail on a nightly basis. It doesn't bother me like it used to because I know how good I am, I know I can compete at this level and I know I can put up good numbers."