The Mets had no choice but to go for Dominic Smith

On May 2, the Mets decided to pay Robinson Cano about $37 million to play for another team rather than ship Dominic Smith to Triple-A Syracuse.

Almost a month later, they demoted Smith anyway, in an effort to elevate relief pitcher Adonis Medina, who had a 5.87 ERA in four previous appearances for the Mets this season.

Shocking? Not really.

The Mets, caught in a pressure on the bullpen, desperately needed another arm for Tuesday’s game against the Nationals – started by rotation patch Trevor Williams – much more than the misfire Smith, who didn’t had not played a redundant role.

With Drew Smith still recovering from a dislocated little finger that didn’t require a stay in IL, and the Mets having an open 14th spot for a pitcher, picking Medina over Smith was a no-brainer.

As one Mets official remarked, “What’s the matter?”

It’s not a big problem anymore. Or shouldn’t be. Getting fired, when a player has options, is always on the table — especially when you’re batting .186 (16 for 86) like Smith, who had yet to hit a home run.

The other two Mets with options? Luis Guillorme, who has been an Edgardo Alfonso 2000 lately, isn’t going anywhere. Neither does JD Davis, a valuable right-handed batsman who started at DH on Tuesday and will now see increased chances in that role.

For Smith, 26, it’s not so much about Tuesday’s demotion. The Mets had a solid baseball justification for this.

The bigger question is how long he ends up staying in Syracuse, as well as what he does during his unwanted time there. It will be the most telling development regarding Smith’s precarious status with the Mets, who don’t seem to be in a rush to get him back.

The next date to circle for Smith is June 19, which is the deadline for teams to reduce their pitching staff to 13 (the Mets went to 14 in the Medina promotion). An injury could still send Smith back to Flushing before then. But for now, Buck Showalter stressed the importance of Smith racking up more at-bats, something he wasn’t getting with the Mets.

“Let’s face it, we have a really good first baseman in Pete Alonso,” Showalter said. “Dom probably felt like every game last month he had to hit four homers.”

On the eve of that May 2 cut, Smith — who thought he was on the bubble — had his best game of the season, going 4-for-4 with three RBIs in the Mets’ 10-6 win over the Phillies. Did this night save him? The Mets say no, and with Cano’s disintegration in San Diego (.107/.138/.107), there’s almost no cause for regret.

We say “almost” because Smith certainly didn’t help his cause by complaining to Newsday’s Anthony Rieber about hosting a trade elsewhere if it meant a chance to play any day. Smith is not the first player to have these feelings. There are probably a few more in the Mets clubhouse.

But when you’re on a first-place team that’s off to a historic start like Showalter’s team, it’s never a good idea to say the quiet part out loud. And Smith is not stupid. He knew what he was doing. After being set to be traded to the Padres late in spring training — for Eric Hosmer, Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan — Smith likely felt like another deal was possible, sooner rather than later. possible. And as long as the players in the Mets position remain healthy, his situation is not going to improve.

Alonso has been on board with his DH days. But he considers himself a full-time first baseman, takes pride in the job he does defensively and would rather play there more than his 36/14 spread over 50 games. Smith has been able to get left-field starts over the past few years, but Showalter has no desire to use him in that position. Like never.

Something had to give. It was becoming increasingly clear by the day that the Mets roster setup wasn’t working optimally for either Smith or the team. Even though the Mets were growing increasingly eager for Smith to finally find some consistency at the plate, they wouldn’t give him enough playing time to achieve that.

“It will give him a chance to see if he can get back to the things we know he is capable of,” Showalter said. “I hope he can do it. I have a lot of confidence that he will.

And if Smith does, there’s no guarantee he’ll bring it back to Citi Field. While there’s virtually no market for him now, we’re slowly moving through the trade season — the deadline is Aug. 2 of this year — and the Mets are definitely going to buy him.

We know that would go down well with Smith because he’s expressed those feelings publicly before. Clearly, Syracuse is not the place Smith had in mind for this opportunity.