Mets to release former first-round pick: report
The New York Mets are parting ways with a former first-round pick who, at one point, was widely regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects.
Dominic Smith will be non-tendered by the Mets before Friday night’s non-tender deadline, according to MLB.com, making him a free agent.
All 30 MLB teams must decide if they will tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players by 8 p.m. ET Friday. Smith was in his third season of arbitration and was under Mets control through the 2024 season.
Smith was the 11th pick of the 2013 MLB Draft and was a top prospect in the league soon after, playing in the 2016 MLB Futures Game.
Early in his MLB career, after being called up in 2017, he suffered from sleep apnea and had significant weight issues. The emergence of Pete Alonso also pushed Smith, a natural first baseman, into left field.
After breaking through his personal struggles, he began to break out in 2019, hitting .278 with an .858 OPS, but he suffered a stress fracture in his foot in July, causing him to miss most of the remainder of the season. He returned for one more at-bat in the final game of the season, which was a walk-off three-run homer.
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In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, he finished in 13th place in the NL MVP vote, slashing .316/.377/.616.
But, in 2021, he took a tremendous step backward, hitting just .244 with a .667 OPS in 145 games. In 58 games with the Mets in 2022, those numbers dropped to .194 and .560, respectively. After getting injured in July, he never made it back to the big league club after being optioned to Triple-A Syracuse.
Smith saw his playing time dwindle early in the season after he was almost traded to the San Diego Padres. He said he would rather play every day elsewhere than be a bench player for the Mets.
In August, he said he understood his future with the team was bleak amid his struggles. He made $3.95 million in 2022.
The 27-year-old will be free to sign with any team. In 447 career games, he is a .246 hitter with a .733 OPS, hitting 46 home runs and driving in 179 runs.