One of the New York Mets’ more low-key moves in the past two years came on the 2017 trade deadline. In that deal, the Mets sent longtime first baseman Lucas Duda to the Rays in exchange for Drew Smith. A lot of times when I see teams dealing with the Rays, I feel like they will probably lose the trade just based on the Rays’ track record.
However, this trade looks like absolute theft. Drew Smith is 27 and already plays a pretty big role in the Mets’ box. Smith’s most valuable asset this season has been his versatility. He started a game as an opener. He has played two or more innings 11 times. It appeared in certain moments with high leverage. He really did it all.
Even with all the different roles Smith was coerced into playing, he thrived. He went 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA in 27 appearances and 37.1 innings pitched.
In that recent series in early August in Miami, the Mets had no choice but to use Smith in a high-leverage position, and he completed a 1-2-3 inning.
There have been two hits on Smith so far in his short big-league career. The first and most important is his health. Smith hasn’t been healthy at all in his first three seasons. After showing a lot of promise in his rookie season, Smith tore up his UCL and missed the entire 2019 season and part of the shortened 2020 season. This season, Smith suffered from right shoulder pain and missed the first month. Smith’s lack of sustainability is part of the reason he didn’t really get a chance to play a bigger role.
The other flaw in Smith’s game that has been very prevalent this season has been keeping the ball in the court. Smith has allowed 11 earned runs this season. Of those 11 points, he allowed seven home runs, representing nine of the runs scored.
If Smith can stay healthy and do a better job of limiting the long ball, he can and will have a bigger role in the Mets’ box. He may be another version of Seth Lugo who proved so valuable in 2019 with his versatility.
He performs well against left-handed and right-handed, at home and away, and in all situations the Mets have thrown him so far. In 2022, I expect to see Drew Smith in higher debt situations and expect him to continue to thrive.