Red Sox Rumors: Dominic Smith emerges as a potential trade target

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 03: Dominic Smith #2 of the New York Mets in action against the Texas Rangers at Citi Field on July 03, 2022 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Rangers 4-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 03: Dominic Smith #2 of the New York Mets in action against the Texas Rangers at Citi Field on July 03, 2022 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Rangers 4-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox are searching for first base options on the trade market

The Boston Red Sox have their eye on a first baseman from the New York Mets. No, not the one who was smashing balls out of the park in this week’s Home Run Derby. Boston is among the teams engaged in trade talks with the Mets for Dominic Smith, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray.

The Red Sox desperately need an upgrade at first base. They come out of the break ranked 27th in the majors at the position with a .276 wOBA, 29th with 74 wRC+ and tied for last with -1.0 WAR, per FanGraphs.

The tandem of Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero hasn’t been cutting it at the plate and they have been a disaster defensively. An ankle injury robbed promising prospect Triston Casas of a significant chunk of the season, preventing him from being ready for the promotion the team envisioned him earning by this point in the season. If the Red Sox are going to climb back into a playoff spot, they are going to need a major league-caliber first baseman.

This makes Dom Smith a curious target considering he’s one of the very few first basemen who has been worse than the duo the Red Sox have been relying on this season.

Smith is having the worst season of his career, hitting .194 with a .560 OPS. He reached double-digits in home runs in each of the last three years but he entered the break still seeking his first of this season.

He’s at least serviceable defensively at first base, at least more so than Boston’s current options, and he has experience playing left field in previous seasons.

Smith has struggled to find playing time for a contending Mets team. He’s shuffled between the majors and Triple-A this year, limiting him to 152 plate appearances in the first half. The lack of a consistent role might be playing a part in his struggles, in which case a change of scenery might reignite the career of a player who has flashed plenty of potential in the past.

A breakout 2019 season saw Smith hit .282 with a .881 OPS. For an encore, he smashed those career-highs by hitting .316 with a .993 OPS during the shortened 2020 season. The former first-round pick was once a highly-touted prospect who was starting to deliver on his potential, only for him to take a step back last year when his production dropped to a .244 average and .667 OPS. His performance has fallen off a cliff this year, prompting the Mets to seek an upgrade while making Smith available.

This would be a classic Chaim Bloom move, swooping in to buy low on a player with upside. If the Mets aren’t asking for much in return for a player they seem to have given up on, it might be a worthwhile gamble to see if Smith can turn things around in a new environment.

The Red Sox limped into the break after losing 10 of their last 14 games. They sit two games outside of the third Wild Card spot with the trade deadline looming. If Boston emerges from the break on a hot streak that vaults them back into a playoff spot, they will need to find a first base upgrade more reliable than Smith. If they continue to struggle and are forced to sell at the deadline, Smith could still be an option to acquire since he’s under team control though the 2024 season.

Smith appears unlikely to be the solution the Red Sox need to solidify the first base position for a playoff push this season. However, he can be an asset to add to the collection. If the Red Sox can get him back on the track he was one two years ago, he could carve out a role on this team or be flipped in a package for something better once his value has been restored.

Update: Mets reportedly placing Dom Smith on Injured List amidst Red Sox trade rumors

The Mets are reportedly placing Smith on the IL, but if the Sox are targeting him, that certainly won’t stop them. When they acquired Kyle Schwarber at last summer’s deadline, he was also on the IL.

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