More often than not, when a team is in first place during the time of the MLB trade deadline, general managers will look to make a big splash. This year with options like Juan Soto, Willson Contreras, and Josh Bell on the table, there were a lot of rumors circling that the New York Mets would acquire at least one of them. Instead, Mets' GM Billy Eppler acquired three players who may not be as good, but have certainly gotten the job done during their time in New York so far.
Tyler Naquin, Daniel Vogelbach, and Darin Ruf are the three bats that the Mets acquired at the deadline. While all three have already made an impact, one player has been lighting it up in all different areas of the game. That would be outfielder Tyler Naquin.
Tyler Naquin arrived in Queens and has performed better than anyone expected
When the Mets acquired Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates for RHP Colin Holderman and Darin Ruf from the Giants for four players (JD Davis and three prospects), they both had decently high expectations to serve well as designated hitters. Naquin, however, came over from the Reds in a trade that sent just two minor league prospects to Cincinnati. With the value of the return being less in the eyes of many, Naquin had expectations to serve as a backup outfielder, similar to the role of Travis Jankowski, who was designated for assignment following the trade. Since coming to the big apple, he has done much more than that.
In his first nine games as a Met, Naquin is batting .346 with an OPS of 1.139, including a 2 HR performance in his Citi Field debut. This was a guy who only hit 7 home runs and had an average of .246 in 65 games this season with the Reds, so to see him come to the Mets and provide as much offensive production as he already has is so much more than what Billy Eppler and the Mets were asking for.
Naquin has also been using his speed to his advantage as he has notched two triples and a stolen base in these nine games. He may not have as much power as Vogelbach and Ruf, but he is providing offense in other ways while also still hitting his fair share of long balls.
With Naquin splitting time in left field with Mark Canha, I don't expect him to be in the lineup every day but it is surely going to be tough for Mets manager Buck Showalter to keep him off the field if he continues to hit this well in the final two months of the regular season and even into the postseason.