Mets leave two question marks unaddressed after adding depth to trade TBEN

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WASHINGTON — After tackling the left-handed side of their designated hitter situation late last month, the Mets completed the comparison Tuesday before heading to the bullpen.

They acquired veteran righthanded batter Darin Ruf from the Giants in trade for JD Davis and minor league pitchers Thomas Szapucki, Carson Seymour and Nick Zwack. In a separate trade, the Mets acquired right-handed reliever Mychal Givens from the Cubs for right-handed Saul Gonzalez in the minor league.

The moves added to the depth of the Mets, but the catcher and the left-handed relief remained unaddressed, leaving question marks in both places. In the days and weeks before the trade TBEN, the Mets acquired lefthanded batters Daniel Vogelbach and Tyler Naquin from the Pirates and Reds, respectively.

Ruf, 36, holds a .886 OPS against lefties and will provide a stronger presence in the right-handed DH spot than Davis, who has struggled in the role this season.

“[Ruf] is one of the guys that I know our people were targeted, and we think it’s a good addition,” said manager Buck Showalter before the Mets faced the Nationals. “It’s a good piece and something we need to get better at.”

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Darin Rufu
USA TODAY Sports

Givens, 32, went 6-2 this season with a 2.66 ERA in 40 games for the Cubs. He joins Adam Ottavino, Seth Lugo and Trevor May (who will be activated off the injured list on Wednesday) to give the Mets a tall, right-handed bullpen presence leading to Edwin Diaz.

The Mets had discussed David Robertson with the Cubs, according to a source, before the veteran reliever was traded to the Phillies. Catcher Willson Contreras (who eventually stayed with the Cubs) was also on the Mets’ radar. However, CEO Billy Eppler thought the asking price was too high for both Robertson and Contreras.


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Eppler was also unbothered by the asking price for left-handed relievers on the market. Andrew Chafin of the Tigers was a possibility, according to a source.

“We actually came close in the left-handed market, but couldn’t get the price for an area that we thought was fair enough for us, given where we were in the season and what we’d have to give in to do that” Eppler said, adding that the organization has internal options to consider before the end of the season and that it has not lost faith in veteran Joely Rodriguez, who has pitched to a 5.72 ERA this season.

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Mets
Billy Eppler
Tom DiPace

Eppler said the mission at this trading TBEN was to improve without giving up the organization’s key prospects. It is a group with names like Francisco Alvarez, Brett Baty, Alex Ramirez, Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio.

“One of the things we’ve talked about here is trying to maintain that organizational discipline to try to quell any urge to make a quick or impulsive decision and create large amounts of future World Series opportunities or — giving up expectations in exchange for marginal gains right now,” Eppler said. “I think some of that undisciplined thinking can lead to years of mediocrity.”

Showalter said Ruf will likely join the Mets in time for the series finale against the Nationals on Wednesday afternoon.

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“[The Giants] We have a good player and we have a good player and it’s one of those things that I think will work for both clubs,” said Showalter. “JD has been a good team-mate and he has some good things for us. and played an important role in some of our victories. We hope he does well, and he will.”

cubs
Mychal Givens
TBEN

Davis had a .238/.324/.359 slash line this season with four homeruns and 21 RBI’s in 66 games for the Mets. The Mets were patient with him for most of the season, hoping he was on the brink of breaking out due to his strong peripheral numbers, but he never recovered satisfactorily. Davis shared the DH spot for much of this season with Dominic Smith.

“It was a bit of ups and downs,” Davis said. “It was more like playing a good game and not playing it as part of the system that existed here. … It’s very hard to get your rhythm going, especially when you have a four-hit game or hit a home run and you is not in the lineup the next day or the next three days.”

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