After signing Cody Bellinger to a one-year, $17.5MM deal today, the Cubs could wind up landing another left-handed power bat, with Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reporting the team has had discussions with Dominic Smith at the Winter Meetings. Smith is a free agent after the Mets non-tendered him.
Smith has struggled in the past two seasons, playing through a partially torn labrum last year and never got going in 2022, as he battled for playing time with J.D. Davis and ultimately found himself optioned to the minor leagues. He finished 2022 with a .194/.276/.284 batting line without a single home run, good for a well below average 67 wRC+.
With that being said, Smith has showed plenty of promise over his career, and has been the victim of circumstance in some regards. The 27-year-old was drafted 11th overall in 2013 and regularly featured on top-100 prospect lists as he came through the minors. He received some time in the majors in 2017 and 2018, but showed his offensive promise in 2019, when he slashed .282/.355/.525 with 11 home runs in 197 plate appearances. That also happened to be the same year Pete Alonso burst onto the stage, and forced Smith to spend time in left field, where he graded out poorly defensively.
Boosted by the presence of the DH in the National League in 2020, Smith continued hitting in that pandemic-shortened season, slashing .316/.377/.616 with ten home runs. Yet things tailed off in 2021 as injury sapped his power, and Smith has never really been able to get another look in and the Mets opted to non-tender instead of paying him a projected $4MM arbitration salary.
While his 2022 numbers won’t drive much interest, he’d make sense for teams willing to take a flier on him rediscovering his plentiful upside. Of course, one of the problems Smith faced in New York was a lack of regular playing time, so while times may see him as a high-upside bench bat, he may be more inclined to seek out opportunities where he can start, at least initially.
The Cubs currently have Matt Mervis and Alfonso Rivas penciled into the first base and designated hitter slots, so there’s certainly room there for them to add a player like Smith. The Cubs have also held long-standing interest in him, as DiComo adds that the Cubs discussed a trade with the Mets this past summer involving Smith. The Rays and Royals have both shown interest in Smith earlier this off-season as well.
Credit : Source link