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Dominic Smith is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Mets first baseman Dominic Smith struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning late in the year. Then they went out and signed free agent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and suggested that Smith may start the season in Triple-A.

Smith can’t do anything about Adrian Gonzalez and he can’t make the Mets put him on the 25-man coming out of camp, but he can certainly address those conditioning concerns. Gentlemen, to the BSOHL-mobile!

“I feel more athletic than I’ve ever been,” Smith told [The New York Post] on Tuesday, a few hours after showing off his pop-up slide form. “In spring training, I’ve always looked the part, but as far as my mobility and loosening up some hips and being more flexible, more agile as an athlete, I feel like this is the most advanced I’ve been for sure in my career.”

It’s not just the flexibility. Ken Davidoff — well-aware that he’s writing a BSHOL story and astutely giving it the proper perspective — says that Smith has lost about 30 pounds and looks “far more compact and limber.” While sometimes these stories have a whiff of BS to them, this one is pretty legit. Smith seems to genuinely have committed himself this past offseason.

That’s good news. Smith is only 22. He has every chance to be the Mets’ first baseman of the future. It may take Adrian Gonzalez faltering in his twilight years to get a chance to prove it, but in the meantime he’s taking control of the parts of the equation he can control.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.