Dominic Smith has emerged as a legitimate weapon for the Mets this season in a part-time role, proving his value to the team but potentially forcing himself off of it in the process.
While there hasn't been any serious buzz yet about the Mets trading Smith any time soon, his name has been out there simply because he might not have a place to play with the Mets going forward.
On Wednesday, Smith -- who is hitting .294/.376/.536 this season with nine homers in 173 plate appearances -- weighed in on the trade whispers.
"I know baseball is a business at the end of the day," Smith said. "It's just how the game is. I love New York, like I said before. I only want to play for the Mets. This is all I know. This is home for me and my family, so I love it here and like I said -- just trying to establish myself and get better every day. Whatever happens, happens. Like I said, it's out of my control. I just know that right now I play for the Mets and I just want to continue to grind and help this team win games."
When it comes to Smith, a 24-year-old who is under team control through the 2023 season, it could come down to him simply being the odd man out with the Mets.
Pete Alonso is playing Smith's natural position of first base (where Smith is viewed as a plus defender), so he's blocked there for the long-term.
As far as Smith playing the outfield -- which he has done an admirable job doing this season, while worth 1 DRS -- he just might not have enough power to profile as a regular out there even if the Mets or a potential acquiring team is comfortable with his defense.
And if the Mets are comfortable with Smith's defense in the outfield and thought he would hit for enough power to justifty playing him there, they would still have to figure out how to fit him.
The Mets will almost certainly go outside the organization this offseason to find a center fielder, meaning the two corner outfield spots will likely be taken up by Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo. And that assumes Jeff McNeil shifts back to the infield.
If the above scenario happens, Smith would be frozen out. At that point, a trade woild be likely, and one executive believes the Mets can actually get more back this offseason for Smith than Conforto.
The Mets could also try to strike while the iron is hot on Smith and attempt to trade him before the July 31 deadline -- either to a contender in need of a lefty bat for the stretch or one that sees him as a long-term answer at first base.