The White Sox are reportedly one of five teams interested in signing free agent Dominic Smith, according to MLB insider Robert Murray.
Smith was once considered a top prospect after the Mets drafted him with the 11th overall pick in 2013. However, he seems like an odd fit for the White Sox. The 28-year-old is primarily a first baseman but has also played 182 games in left field and one game in right field during his seven-year career. The White Sox already have Andrew Vaughn entrenched at first base and Andrew Benintendi slotted in at left field.
The front office could view Smith as a potential solution in right field, however, he hasn’t played in the outfield since 2021. His defense metrics also leave a lot to be desired. In 2021 he had a -11 Outs Above Average in left field.
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The White Sox currently have Gavin Sheets penciled in as the starting right fielder. Smith would give the White Sox another left-handed bat in the lineup. He also has a slightly better offensive track record than Sheets. But on the defensive end, he would not be providing much of an upgrade.
Smith owns a career .248/.313.407 slash line with a 97 OPS+. Last season he hit .254 with 12 home runs and 46 RBIs, with the Washington Nationals but posted a .846 OPS in the final month of the regular season. Six of his 12 home runs also came in 23 games in September.
He was designated for assignment by the Nationals in November but went unclaimed after being placed on waivers.
Smith is not much of a power hitter. His 12 home runs in 2023 marked a new career high. His 30.8 hard pit percentage also ranked in the bottom nine percent in the MLB last season. However, he has shown flashes of being a quality run producer.
The former first-round pick spent the first six years of his career with the New York Mets. Between 2019 and 2020 he produced a .299/.366./.571 slash line in 396 plate appearances. In 2020 he finished 13th in the NL MVP voting after posting a .993 OPS, with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs in 50 games. He also ranked in the top percent of all hitters in expected Batting Average (.303), expected Slugging Percentage (.566), and Weighted On-Base percentage (.412).
However, his OPS plummeted to .643 the next two seasons which resulted in the Mets cutting ties with Smith.