Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
With the Mets down to three healthy outfielders on their 25-man roster -- and with zero outfielders on their 40-man roster beyond those three -- Dominic Smith (yes, Dominic Smith) made his professional outfield debut over the weekend with Triple-A Las Vegas.
The slimmed-down Smith started in right field on Saturday night, and threw a runner out at second base.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway smirked prior to Sunday's game while addressing the Smith-to-the-outfield thing -- not because the idea of Smith being out there is crazy, but because it was done due to the fact that the Mets are simply running out of healthy outfielders. At the moment, Wilmer Flores and Phillip Evans are the Mets' backup outfielders.
"The way he's been moving around, the way he's been working, he's a really good athlete," Callaway said about Smith. "With the injuries we've had, it makes some sense for him to go out in right field and get some reps. ... This only gives Dom another option to be able to make it back up here and contribute."
In the short-term, if Smith can hack it in the outfield, it will give the Mets an option to turn to if another outfielder is lost due to injury. The long-term options are even more interesting.
With red-hot 1B Peter Alonso turning heads while tearing the cover off the ball with Double-A Binghamton, he may supplant Smith as the Mets' presumptive first baseman of the future (if he hasn't done so already).
If Alonso does indeed reach the majors soon -- whether it's some point this season or next -- and becomes the Mets' regular first baseman, Smith could still have value to the Mets as a lefty-swinging backup first baseman who can also play the outfield. That type of player was the exact kind the Mets were looking for this offseason before inking the one-dimensional Adrian Gonzalez.
There's also the potential that Smith's future doesn't lie with the Mets. The righty-swinging Alonso's lefty/righty splits have improved every season, and he's hitting .355/.478/.636 against righties in 2018.
Whether Smith has a long future with the Mets or not, him being able to play the outfield adequately would make him much more valuable to them -- and any team interested in acquiring him.