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Mets’ Dominic Smith ready to be everyday left fielder: ‘I’m getting comfortable out there’

Dominic Smith is coming off a career-best year, slashing .316/.377/.616, and there’s no doubt that he’ll be a big part of the Mets’ lineup in 2021.

The only question is: Where?

A natural first baseman, Smith is likely penciled in as the Mets’ starting left fielder at this point, as the universal DH has not been implemented for 2021 (at least not yet), and with Pete Alonso holding down the fort at first base.

And while Smith has had his struggles in the outfield, he said on Thursday that he’s growing more and more comfortable playing there, and is willing to play anywhere to help the team.

‘I’m a ballplayer. I’m a versatile ballplayer that’s going to help you win games. If I’m in the lineup, I don’t care where I play,” Smith said. “Like I’ve said, I take pride in defense. Obviously, my left field play hasn’t been great, but people forget that I got thrown in left field in the big leagues, which is the highest level of baseball, the hardest level. I didn’t realize how hard guys hit the ball until I started playing outfield in the big leagues.

“It’s a learning curve, it’s a learning process, and I feel like I’m taking that challenge and I’m getting better and better at it, and like I’ve said, I’m getting comfortable out there and I know that I can do it. I know that I can play left field, right field – I’m competitive and I believe in my ability.”

Smith started 22 games in left field during the shortened 2020 season, while starting 23 times at first base and five times as the Mets’ designated hitter.

Without the presence of a DH, all National League teams obviously lose a potential key piece of the lineup. For the Mets, it likely means that Brandon Nimmo would slide to center field, leaving players like Kevin Pillar and Albert Almora Jr. as bench assets rather than everyday players.