During the 2022 MLB Trade Deadline, the New York Mets made a bit of head scratching move on the surface when they acquired Darin Ruf from the San Francisco Giants for four players. Giving up as much as they did for the 36-year-old Ruf in terms of quantity was confusing in itself, and the results that Ruf provided as a member of the Mets during the final two months of the season left much to be desired offensively.
While the jury is still out on how this trade will play out, it easily will go down as one of the worst trades in recent memory for the Mets due to the zero amount of impact that Ruf made as a deadline acquisition last season. While Ruf is under contract for another season with the Mets and still has the chance to turn around his recent fortunes in 2023, the results from the opposite side of the trade with the San Francisco Giants have yielded more promising results.
In exchange for Ruf, the Giants had acquired our part-time designated hitter at the time in J.D. Davis, and three minor league pitchers in left-hander Thomas Szapucki, right-hander Carson Seymour, and southpaw Nick Zwack. Both Davis and Szapucki made contributions at the Major League level in 2022, while the latter two pitchers had continued their respective season's down on the farm.
The Mets gave up a haul of players for Darin Ruf at the Trade Deadline last August and the results have unfavorable to this point
First and foremost the biggest name of the deal going back to San Francisco was J.D. Davis. While Davis had his fair share of struggles during the 2022 campaign, he seemed like a prime change of scenery candidate and the trade worked out greatly in his favor. With the Giants, Davis received consistent playing time and ended up having a great end to the season as he wound up with a .263/.361/.496 line to go along with 8 home runs and 14 RBIs over 49 games.
The 29-year-old Davis also had posted the second-highest OPS of his career with the Giants at .857, which was only behind his career-high OPS of .895 which happened during his breakout campaign with the Mets back in 2019. Davis is expected to continue to be a contributor with the Giants going into the 2023 season after his successful run over the final two months of last season. You can expect him to fill a similar role as he did with the Mets switching between DH, as well as the corner infield positions and outfield positions.
Thomas Szapucki who ironically struggled in his first big league appearance of the season in 2022 against none other than the San Francisco Giants (9 earned runs in 1.1 innings), made some appearances for the Giants down the stretch of the season and also found success similar to J.D. Davis. The 26-year-old southpaw ended up making ten appearances over 13.2 innings and had pitched to a 1.98 ERA with a 16/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
While Szapucki never really looked the part at the big league level for the Mets in his limited appearances, his arm had always been highly regarded in the Mets farm system and he had been ranked as high as fifth in their system back in 2018 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Giants may have found a diamond in the rough, and you can fully expect Szapucki to be a member of the Giants bullpen in some capacity in 2023.
If you are asking how this trade gets any more one-sided than it already is, just wait there is more. Carson Seymour was a 2021 MLB Draft pick of the Mets in the 6th round out of Kansas State. The 23-year-old right-hander had made appearances for both A-ball St. Lucie and A+ Brooklyn prior to being dealt. Upon being traded to the Giants, Seymour posted a 3.99 ERA over six starts with the San Francisco Giants A+ affiliate Eugene with a 43/10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Baseball America originally had Seymour ranked among its top 30 Mets prospects last season and Seymour pitched well for both Mets affiliates before being traded as he had a combined 2.43 ERA at both Brooklyn and St. Lucie. I would fully expect Seymour to start the 2023 campaign in Double-A for the Giants and he could be up in the big leagues as soon as 2024. Seymour is currently ranked as the Giants' 29th-ranked prospect by MLB.com.
The last moving part in this trade for the Mets was another left-hander in Nick Zwack. Similar to Seymour, the 24-year-old Zwack was a 2021 MLB Draft pick, as he was drafted in the 17th round out of Xavier University. Zwack had been having a great season at High-A Brooklyn for the Mets before being dealt as he had a 1.84 ERA across 63.2 innings pitched.
With the Giants, Zwack also pitched at High-A Eugene and posted a similar 3.99 ERA over six starts but he had a bit more trouble with his command with a 36/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Zwack had also ranked among the Mets' top 30 prospects according to Baseball America before being dealt. Zwack will most likely enter the 2023 season at either A+ or Double-A and is currently ranked as the Giants' 28th-ranked prospect by MLB.com.
As you can see this trade has been completely one-sided thus far. Barring a breakout from Darrin Ruf in 2023, the San Francisco Giants have acquired some pitching depth in the farm, a bullpen arm, and a serviceable Major League player from the Mets. I have a feeling we will be revisiting what these players are up to again in another season or two.