The Mets traded J.D. Davis to the Giants in a multi-player package nearly a year ago. How’s that trade been aging so far?
For the New York Mets, the J.D. Davis trade is one trade that will forever live in infamy. Everyone kept saying “Time will tell” whether Darin Ruf could become a reliable piece in the batting rotation, and time told, alright.
In a deal struck at last season’s trade deadline, the Mets acquired outfielder Darin Ruf from the San Francisco Giants. In return, the Mets sent infielder J.D. Davis, left-hander Thomas Szapucki, and pitching prospects Nick Zwack and Carson Seymour to San Francisco.
Did the Mets really give all that for a 36-year-old player? Yes, yes they did.
Here are each teams’ trade grades. They probably won’t surprise you.
J.D. Davis trade grades: Mets get a D-
The Mets were out of their mind with this one. Giving up a whopping four players for a veteran like Ruf was questionable to being with. The first baseman/designated hitter failed to live up to lofty expectations in the final two months of the 2022 season, slashing .152/.216/.197 with zero home runs and a .413 OPS in 74 plate appearances.
Maybe Ruf would get better next season? This was not the case.
He disappointed in spring training, batting just over .167 with two doubles and one RBI. New York decided to cut its losses earlier rather than later and waived him ahead of the 2023 season, opting to retain Tim Locastro instead on the Opening Day roster.
Ruf was designated for assignment in late March, and the Mets haven’t looked back ever since.
As fate would have it, Ruf went back to the Giants for a brief minor-league stint before signing a one-year deal with the Brewers this past May.
Ruf played his best years in San Francisco, there was no doubt about that. Before his stint in Queens ruined him, he was emerging as one of the most impressive hitters in the league, thriving especially against lefties. His 32 homers, 28 doubles, and 99 RBI in a two-year span with the Giants were no joke, but they were also not worth four Mets players, two of which were high-upside prospects.
J.D. Davis trade grades: Giants get an A
Even if Ruf hadn’t disappointed so badly on the Mets, the Giants would still win this trade. Along with J.D. Davis, San Francisco received a trio of New York’s pitchers: Thomas Szapucki, Nick Zwack and Carson Seymour. Davis and Szapucki made a moderate dent in the majors while Zwack and Seymour continue to develop on the farm team.
Getting those three pitchers — regardless of whether they develop into reliable pieces — was just the cherry on top of this trade. The Giants hit it out of the park with their sneaky good acquisition of versatile outfielder J.D. Davis, who has been flourishing in his home state as of late.
The Elk Grove native served as a consistent hitter in S.F. from day one, slashing .263/.361/.496 at the end of the 2022 season and posting eight homers, 15 RBIs, and a .857 OPS, good for second-best in his career.
This year, Davis has grown even more in both offense and defense and has challenged Giants prospects David Villar for the starting third baseman spot. He’s entering peak form at the plate as well as on the field, racking up a healthy nine homers and 35 RBI and seeing his glovework improve to the point where he’s at least recording a league average in DRS at third.
Overall, the Giants received a solid starter, a bullpen arm, and pitching depth for a veteran slugger who may have been on the outs. They finessed the Mets in this trade, and everybody knows it.