The New York Mets have been one of baseball’s best teams in 2022, mainly due to a great offense and rotation. Although many players on the team have had excellent years, the roster could have used some upgrades at the trade deadline. New York was in dire need of a consistent designated hitter and a few more bullpen arms. Unfortunately, general manager Billy Eppler failed to acquire the big names Met fans hoped for, including Trey Mancini and Willson Contreras. However, they received a few other bats this deadline, so let’s dive deeply into them.
New York Acquires DH/1B Daniel Vogelbach from Pirates
Although Dom Smith and J.D. Davis have had flashes of brilliance in the past as New York’s designated hitters, they have been downright bad in 2022. Therefore, it prompted Billy Eppler to make a move for a bat. While Daniel Vogelbach won’t “wow” you, he still provides decent power and can hit lefties quite well.
Though his batting average is just .236, his on-base percentage is .353, which is above average, meaning he gets on base a lot. He gives the Mets some much-needed “pop” in their lineup and will serve as a “platoon” designated hitter. This is an approach the Braves took last year with Eddie Rosario and Jorge Soler. That worked out pretty well.
My one issue with acquiring Vogelbach is what we gave up: Colin Holderman. Holderman was a substantial part of the teams’ bullpen earlier in the year, and giving him up for a three-month rental is a strange move.
Overall, I like the addition of Vogelbach but giving up Holderman lowers the trade grade for me.
New York Acquires DH/OF Tyler Naquin from Reds
Though many expected the Metropolitans front office to make a trade for Wilson Contreras or Trey Mancini, they settled for smaller acquisitions instead. Tyler Naquin was another relatively small move. However, unlike the Vogelbach trade, they didn’t give much up for him at all. Instead, they gave up Hector Rodriguez and Jose Acuna, two minor leaguers who weren’t in their top 30 prospects. In the deal, New York also acquired right-handed pitcher Phillip Diehl from the Cincinnati Reds, who currently has an 11.12 earned run average this year. That isn’t good, but he is in the minors as of now.
Even though Naquin isn’t a star by any means, he is still an upgrade over Dominic Smith. He has a solid 111 WRC+ on the year and can be a capable starter if needed to be. He will serve as part of a platoon designated hitter and can play in the outfield. Additionally, he hit two home runs Thursday night in the series opener against the Braves.
This was a very solid move by Billy Eppler, though he isn’t a great player, he is still an upgrade at the position.
Mets Acquire DH/1B/OF Darin Ruf from Giants
While Vogelbach and Naquin were players the team acquired days before the deadline, they added former San Francisco Giant Darin Ruf. Ruf hasn’t hit the ball particularly well this year but has still gotten on base quite often. He holds a .328 on-base percentage and has a decent 105 WRC+. Ruf has been in the NL East, as he was with the Phillies from 2012-2016.
Ruf will serve as part of a platoon for New York and can play either first base, outfield, or be a designated hitter. Even though Ruf is a solid player that should help the Mets down the stretch of this season, they gave up too much for him, in my opinion. They traded away third baseman J.D. Davis, right-handed pitcher Thomas Szapucki, minor league right-handed pitcher Carson Seymour, and left-hander Nick Zwack. While those players won’t “wow” you, it is still a significant return for the Giants.
One thing Ruf does at a high level is his hitting against lefties, which is something the Mets desperately needed. However, his overall play isn’t that great, and for what the team gave up, it was a bit of an overpay. Additionally, better options were on the market. New York also had the assets to trade for them.
Mets Acquire RHP Mychal Givens from Cubs
New York’s most significant need at the trade deadline was two or three more reliable bullpen arms. Billy Eppler only traded for one while also giving away Colin Holderman. Though trading for Givens is a decent move, it’s very disappointing it was the only trade for a reliever they made. In 2022, Givens has a 3.7 earned run average in 41 innings pitched. In his first outing as a Met, he gave up five runs.
Givens is a decent relief pitcher, but the Mets needed more.
This trade deadline for the Mets was very disappointing. While my trade grades may seem decent, the team missed out on a lot of top-end talent. New York didn’t get worse at the deadline, but it didn’t get much better. So my grade for their deadline is a C.