Mets acquire 1B/DH Darin Ruf from the Giants
Ruf should serve as a strong upgrade in a DH platoon with Daniel Vogelbach
In need of an enhanced presence against left-handed pitching, the Mets made a trade with the Giants, acquiring 1B/DH Darin Ruf in exchange for JD Davis, Thomas Szapucki, and two pitching prospects in RHP’s Carson Seymour and Nick Zwack, the team announced on Tuesday.
Ruf, 36, has had a disappointing season overall for the Giants following a strong 2021 campaign. He has hit just .216/.328/.373 with 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 314 plate appearances over 90 games this season. This after hitting .271/.385/.519 with 16 home runs and 43 RBI in 117 games for San Francisco last season.
Still, Ruf has been a strong presence against left-handed pitching this season. His .886 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2022 ranks 20th best in the National League, his nine home runs against southpaws is the fourth-highest mark and his 24 RBI against lefties is tied for the fourth-highest mark in the National League. So from this perspective, Ruf should serve as an upgrade to Davis who has a .660 OPS against left-handed pitching this season.
In 655 plate appearances against left-handed pitching in his career, Ruf has hit .282/.379/.550.
Ruf has a strong eye at the plate, sitting in the 79th percentile in chase rate this season, and his 12.7 percent walk rate is elite as well in the 93rd percentile. However, Ruf has struggled against breaking pitches this season, hitting just .111 against curveballs and .127 against sliders. He has produced -3 defensive runs saved at first base this season which is mostly in-line with his career marks at the position. He has spent considerable time in the outfield but profiles as a below average defensive player overall despite his apparent versatility.
Unless the Mets make another acquisition ahead of tonight’s 6 PM trade deadline, Ruf should serve strictly in a platoon with Daniel Vogelbach as the club’s primary designated hitters.
Still, it would seem the Mets gave up a lot of quantity to procure Ruf, who like Vogelbach is really a one-dimensional hitter and is a defensive liability. But the Mets needed to strengthen their roster against left-handed pitching after producing a .391 slugging percentage against southpaws through the season’s first 102 games.
Ruf signed a two-year, $6.25 million contract with the Giants before the 2022 season. There is a $3.5 million club option for the 2024 season with a $250,000 buyout.