The two newest Mets, reliever Mychal Givens and designated hitter Darin Ruf, made their way to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to join their club for its series finale against the Nationals. And with it, they each went from National League bottom-dwellers to the thick of a postseason push.
They realize that, too, confirming how swiftly the perception has changed around the Mets.
Once a comedic source of dysfunction, they’re now seen as one of the top teams in the game.
Ruf was acquired from the San Francisco Giants, who sit 19.5 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, for JD Davis and three prospects in hopes of creating a top-notch platoon at DH alongside Daniel Vogelbach.
While Vogelbach has had success against right-handers, Ruf is one of the top offensive threats against lefty pitchers in the game. He has an .886 OPS against southpaws this year and a .937 mark over the last three seasons.
That ranks 14th-best among all MLB batters with at least 150 plate appearances during that span.
“What an opportunity to come to a great team and a great organization,” Ruf said on Wednesday afternoon. “Play these last few months of the regular season and make a deep postseason run.
“I know this team has very high, lofty goals and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Givens was the lone reliever to be acquired by general manager Billy Eppler, coming over from a Chicago Cubs side that is 20 games under .500 and 15.5 games back of the NL Centra-leading Milwaukee Brewers.
A move to Queens provides a reunion with Buck Showalter, who managed Givens during his first three MLB seasons with the Baltimore Orioles from 2015-2018.
“When I saw he was the manager for the Mets, I always told people that they’re going to have a good manager and they’re going to contend,” Givens said. “And look where they’re at right now.
“He’s one of the best managers I’ve had throughout my career and he knows how to win games.”
The Mets will be hoping that Givens can provide a sturdy bridge to Edwin Diaz to help win more games.
New York has been devoid of reliable relievers outside of their All-Star closer — though they whiffed in getting a left-handed arm for the pen — and Givens can be just that. He has a 2.66 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched this season.
“Going to a contender and being back with Buck who was my manager as a rookie was kind of exciting,” he said. “Just looking forward.”