When the MLB lockout ends — and there is optimism that it will end soon, paving the way for Opening Day to happen on time — the Mets will get back to work building their roster and figuring out how every piece will fit.
And with Rob Manfred announcing Thursday that an agreement has been reached on the universal DH for 2022, the Mets will be faced with another spot to fill.
So, who should the Mets turn to at DH?
Why it shouldn’t be Pete Alonso
While it might seem like a good idea to slide Alonso to DH and use Dominic Smith at first base, there are several reasons why it would be a bad idea.
First, and most importantly, Alonso is on record as having no interest in being a DH.
And there is no reason why the Mets should dislodge Alonso from first base (where he has become a solid defender) while potentially angering him in the process — especially if it’s to accommodate Smith, who has not been able to find consistency offensively.
Per Baseball Savant, Alonso was worth 1 OAA (Outs Above Average) at first base last season, putting him in the 63rd percentile. And using Baseball Reference’s DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) metric, Alonso was worth 5 DRS.
Additionally, there is no telling how Alonso might perform if asked to be a full-time DH, a move that would disrupt the routine he’s had for his entire career.
The most obvious choice is the lefty-hitting Smith, who has been up and down offensively during his five-year big league career, but showed serious flashes in 2019 and 2020 when he slashed .299/.366/.571 with 21 homers in 139 games.
Smith’s career splits are kind of strange, with him having a better slugging percentage against righties (.449) than lefties (.415) but getting on base far more often against lefties than righties (.348 OBP opposed to .301).