The Mets’ first-base competition may already be decided

PORT ST. LUCIE — Dominic Smith is in shape and ready to compete for the Mets’ first-base job, but he may not be facing an open competition with Adrian Gonzalez.

And manager Mickey Callaway indicated Tuesday that it could be difficult for the club to carry two first basemen, neither of whom has another position.

“That is something that is going to be a tough decision,” Callaway said. “Dom Smith has come into camp looking real good, he’s in great shape. He did a great job this offseason of preparing.

“I had a talk with him and the expectation for Dom is to go out there and do everything he can to be on the major league team. Adrian Gonzalez is going to be one of the most prepared guys you have ever seen and has already expressed his willingness to mentor Dom Smith, so I expect we are going to have two first basemen who are going to have good camps, and that is going to be a tough decision in the end.”

Smith lost about 30 pounds in the offseason following a strict diet and workout routine, but team officials were underwhelmed with his performance during his debut last season — he posted a .198/.262/.395 slash line with nine homers and 26 RBIs in 49 games.

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Gonzalez was released by the Braves over the winter after he was acquired in a trade with the Dodgers. The 35-year-old former All-Star missed most of last season with back problems and was displaced at first base by Cody Bellinger, the National League Rookie of the Year.

Though Gonzalez is making $22.3 million this season, the Mets are paying him just the major league minimum. If Gonzalez is healthy and shows anything in camp, he would figure to begin the season as the Mets’ first baseman with Smith starting the year at Triple-A Las Vegas.

“We are going to have to see how our roster shakes out, who is healthy, before I can really answer the question more thoroughly,” Callaway said. “We are going to have two guys out there at first base really competing to show us the best they can do.”

Source: https://nypost.com/2018/02/13/the-mets-first-base-competition-may-already-be-decided/

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