Dominic Smith was at a critical moment at the start of the 2022 season with the Mets. After reaching incredible heights with the teams during the 2019 and 2020, he fell back to earth and then some in 2021. But this season he started as part of a designated hitter triumvirate to start the season, with Robinson Canó and J.D. Davis. And all three of them were basically put in the position to prove it.
Smith wasn’t able to do that in 2022. In 152 plate appearances over 58 games, he hit .194/.276/.284 with 17 RBI and not a single home run. He had a 67 wRC+ and was a below replacement level player, with a -0.1 fWAR for his season. He was given a better chance with the team after Robinson Canó was cut at the start of May, but even with more chances he was unable to produce at a level even close to league average.
The Mets sent Smith down to Triple-A Syracuse at the end of May, attempting to find some level of production at designated hitter. He was called back up towards the end of June, but he sprained his ankle less than a month later, and was with Syracuse for the rest of the year. He was with the major league club after the end of the Triple-A season, but he was never put back on the roster and ended the season with his Mets future in jeopardy.
In the offseason, the Mets non-tendered Smith, ending his Mets career and making Smith a free agent. After years of trade rumors and back and forth with his future, his Mets tenure came to a sad, quiet end. And while Smith dealt with a myriad of issues during his last couple seasons, from multiple injuries in 2021 to mental health issues he spoke about in 2022, he was never able to make it over the hump and find his groove again.
Over his Mets tenure, Smith hit .246/.308/.424 with 46 home runs in 1,373 plate appearances. He had a career 100 wRC+ and was worth -0.2 fWAR over his entire career. While he’s a former first round draft pick with a couple good seasons, he currently is below league average and the Mets are in win-now mode, and don’t have time to give Smith a lion’s share of the designated hitter plate appearances to see if he can turn it around. And they obviously don’t have the space for him in the field, with Pete Alonso entrenched as the franchise’s first baseman and Smith being wholly unsuited for the outfield.
In the end, Smith just wasn’t able to be a worthwhile contributor to this Mets roster. Smith seems like a nice guy, and it’s sad to see a guy like him leave, but the Mets can’t afford to waste time anymore. He would be better suited for a team that has some playing time available either at first or in the designated hitter’s spot, where he’d be given a lot of rope to try and figure things out without the crushing expectations of not just a playoff contender but a hopeful World Series contender. And now the Mets have the space to either give some of their top prospects more playing time, or just go out and get a solid designated hitter.
Smith reached the end of the line with the Mets in 2022. He went out with a whimper, spending more than half the season off the major league roster and underwhelming in his time in the majors. He was non-tendered, making him a free agent and giving the Mets roster space and a few extra millions to work with in the off-season.