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The New York Mets make a trade for a bullpen arm and a left-handed outfielder, but it’s not the outfielder you’d imagine.
No, the Mets didn’t acquire Juan Soto. No, they didn’t acquire Ian Happ. Neither did they get David Peralta. Instead, the Mets made a trade with the Cinncinati Reds that sent OF Tyler Naquin and LHP Phillip Diehl to Queens. The Mets trade was met with conflicted feelings, as surely fans were hoping for a bigger name that the Mets were going to acquire.
Our very own Robert Murray broke this trade news and provided the details on whom the Mets were acquiring. On the surface, this trade is a bit confusing until you look deeper at why the Mets made this trade. The Mets trade is actually pretty good and leaves plenty of prospects and money for bigger moves to come.
The Mets solved multiple issues with this trade by acquiring a left-handed hitting outfielder in Tyler Naquin. Naquin can start in left field on days a tough right-handed pitcher is on the mound, giving a breather for Mark Canha or Brandon Nimmo. He provides way more hitting ability than Travis Jankowski as well. Jankowski is hitting a meager .167/.286/.167, while Naquin is hitting a far more robust .245/.305/.429 with 12 doubles and 6 home runs.
This move also allows the Mets to keep Jeff McNeil at the keystone, second base, which allows Luis Guillorme to move to third base. It’s clear Eduardo Escobar is slumping badly right now and perhaps needs a few days off — or even needs to be benched on certain games. Escobar is hitting only .220 with 19 doubles and 12 home runs. The strikeout has been an issue with 96Ks to only 26 walks. Luis is hitting a much better .288 average with a 111 OPS+ and 10 doubles.
See how this move is now allowing the Mets to be way more flexible with their roster and potentially increase their offensive production? Perhaps it wasn’t so underwhelming when you see they also added another badly-needed left-handed pitcher and gave up almost nothing for these players.
The Mets added only about $1.525 MM to their payroll, but with Steve Cohen as the owner, that’s nothing. Phillip Diehl is currently off the 40-man roster but will provide valuable left-handed pitching depth for the bullpen. With Triple-A Louisville, he had a 30.6 percent strikeout rate and a 1.114 WHIP over 23.1 innings with a 4.24 ERA. His MLB numbers leave something to be desired, but perhaps the Mets can fix that.
In return for these two guys, the Mets didn’t even give up one of their top-30 prospects. Jose Acuna is a promising pitcher, but he’s only 19 and in Low-A. He has great strikeout potential, but he won’t be a factor anytime soon. The same goes for INF Hector Rodriguez. He has hit great in the Florida Coast League, but he is only 18.
The best thing about this Mets trade is that they have plenty of prospects to go for bigger needs
The Mets solved their outfield issues without sacrificing top prospect capital. They can now focus their attention on a power-hitter, a catcher, and more bullpen help. Imagine if they had to overpay for Ian Happ just to miss out on a bullpen arm or catcher. You can be upset the Mets didn’t get a bigger name player, but perhaps that’s coming.
After all, there are only a few more days until the trade deadline. I guarantee that Billy Eppler and company have a big trade coming. The Mets need those prospects to pull off a trade for a player like Trey Mancini or J.D. Martinez.