Could a Smith for Bellinger Trade Work?

Dom Smith and Cody Bellinger. Two left handed hitters who struggled mightly in the 2021 season, after great years in years past. Bellinger is enjoying a good Postseason, but until the Muncy injury, his playing time was in jeopardy.

Bellinger had an even lower bWAR then Dom Smith (-1.5 to -0.7). This shows how awful Bellinger was during the year as he hit just .165/.240/.302. Both Bellinger and Smith had a major drop off in the power department, which is a concern for both.

If you look at both Baseball Savant pages, they lacked expected slash lines and hard hit rates. So they weren’t unlucky, they both just didn’t hit well. Their main issue was their barrel percentage dropped mightly. Overall Smith had at least some promising to league average percentiles, while Bellinger was at the bottom for the most part, besides OAA (Outs Above Average).

Dom Smith
Cody Bellinger

However, if you look at the last 3 years, Bellinger has outhit Smith with a 122 OPS+ combined over Smith’s 113 OPS+. This includes Belli MVP year which was the year he outperformed his career norm.

Why would this work for the Mets?

Dom Smith value is at the lowest point in his career, but at this point the Mets can’t keep Smith in the lineup playing Left. For a bench player he lacks versatility, so he is a man without a position right now. Smith as DH after the offensive year he had, is a big risk, as you need a lot of offensive production from the DH spot.

So you might be better off giving his roster spot to someone else, who fits the roster better. But trading Smith on his lowest value, isn’t a smart business move. Only if you can trade for another player, with potential of a terrible year. In comes Cody Bellinger.

Bellinger fits the roster for the Mets better as he plays a very solid outfield as he recorded plus 3 OAA in CF. He also had succes in RF with a plus 6 OAA in his final year playing there everyday in 2019. With Conforto becoming a free agent, Bellinger has a spot in RF to play. A McNeil-Nimmo-Bellinger outfield is a potentially great one if Belli can get himself back to old form.

Bellinger has 2 years of control left and is arbritration eligible. He is expected to get 16.1 Mil per MLB Trade Rumors. That’s a 12.1 mil increase over Dom Smith who has 3 years of control left.

This move would be more costly, but a move that could be beneficial for the Mets as Bellinger is a way better fit on the roster. Giving up Dom is a risk but getting Bellinger could be a risk well worth the possible reward. Also the 12.1 difference wouldn’t kill your payroll and should give the Mets room enough to fill other roles.

Why would the Dodgers make this move?

The Dodgers are a powerhouse with a large payroll, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to shred a little bit. Smith has a way more favorable contract and has more control. With Seager likely gone and Turner moving from second to his favorite spot at short, the Dodgers could move Muncy to second to make room for Dom. This would work for Dom to be comfertable at his favorite position.

With this trade the Dodgers get their own hitter in the hope he rebounds. Dom wasn’t good in 2021 (although better then Bellinger) but he was lights out in 2020. Yes it was a shortened season, but his 2019 was also strong offensively. What hurt his WAR in those years was the dreadful defense at a position that doesn’t suit him well.

So in conclusion, the Dodgers get a high potential bat that fills their need with Belli gone for a lower cost.

If you look at Baseball Trade Values, Bellinger had a 0.0 value, while Dom had a 1.5 value. This shows Belli value has dropped and an one for one trade isn’t impossible. If this trade is made it could go either way. Or great for both, terrible for both and one gets away with a huge win. In the end it’s a risk for both.

What are your thoughts about this proposal? Do you see it happening? Is the one for one swap realistic? Let us know in the comments.

Photo Credit: New York BBWAA on Twitter

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